Could Christmas be a super spreader event?

Maybe. 

Around half of Americans (47%) will be celebrating Christmas with others this year, according to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll. This includes nearly a third of the public (31%) who will be joined in their festivities by people from other households.

One in five American adults will be involved in a celebration that involved traveling by one of the guests, and the travel is as likely to cross state lines as not.

As a holiday, celebrating Christmas this year may be more important than COVID-19 fears. Those who saw a close friend or family member die from the coronavirus are as likely as those who did not to celebrate with others, and to be at a celebration where someone has had to travel to attend.  They are a little less likely to include someone from outside their immediate household in the Christmas party, however.

Politics matters when it comes to how people celebrate Christmas. Democrats – who YouGov research this year has consistently shown are more worried about contracting COVID-19, and more willing to impose restrictions on movement – are twice as likely as Republicans to say they will only celebrate among their immediate household (48% vs 24%).      

Americans may not be expecting a surge in cases after the holidays, but few are convinced that the worst is behind us. Just 16% say the worst of the pandemic is in the past, and two-thirds think we are either currently experiencing the worse of the crisis, or that the worst is yet to come. 

A majority of Republicans agree with the wider public. Only one in four Republicans believe the worst is now over.

Related: Face mask wearing is up, but willingness to be vaccinated is not 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this Economist/YouGov Poll

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US Adults interviewed online between December 19 - 22, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.3% for the overall sample.   

Image: Getty