Many Americans frequently want to skip out on their social plans, according to a June 10 - 14 poll of 1,000 U.S. adult citizens by YouGov, and even more Americans believe the pandemic has made it more acceptable to cancel plans last-minute.
More than one-third of Americans say they often agree to plans in advance only to realize closer to the date that they don’t want to participate, with 11% saying this happens to them very often.
Americans under 30 are most likely to say this happens to them somewhat often or very often: 56% say so. About half of 30- to 44-year-olds (49%) say the same, as do just 31% of 45- to 64-year-olds (31%) and 12% of Americans 65 and older.
The 36% of Americans who often agree to future activities they don’t really want to follow through on may have found that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more acceptable to cancel plans at the last minute. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, canceling plans at the last minute is the “new normal,” thanks in large part to concerns around the pandemic. And about half of Americans agree: 53% say the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more acceptable for people to cancel plans at the last minute. Far fewer (8%) say the pandemic has made it less acceptable to do this, while 26% say there has been no change.
Women (57%) are more likely than men (48%) to say the pandemic has made it more acceptable to cancel plans at the last minute. Additionally, the shift toward acceptance of canceling last-minute is greater in certain regions of the U.S. While 62% of people who live in the Northeast say the pandemic has made it more acceptable to cancel plans, fewer people in the West (54%), South (52%), and Midwest (47%) agree.
There are also some slight political differences. Democrats (59%) are more likely than Independents (54%) and Republicans (49%) to say the pandemic has made it more acceptable to cancel plans at the last minute. One-third (35%) of Republicans say there has been no change in how acceptable this is; fewer Independents (26%) and Democrats (17%) feel the same way.
Backing out of planned travel plans with friends may also be considered more acceptable at this stage of the pandemic.
Most Americans say they would be understanding of a friend canceling a trip with them at the last minute if the friend was nervous about catching COVID-19. One-third (34%) say they would be very understanding, and 36% say they would be somewhat understanding.
There are also some partisan splits on this topic. Four in five Democrats (79%) say they would be understanding of this circumstance, while fewer Independents (70%) and Republicans (61%) feel the same way.
— Carl Bialik, Linley Sanders, and Taylor Orth contributed to this article.
Related: How Americans who’ve had COVID-19 describe their experiences
This poll was conducted on June 10 - 14, 2022 among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this YouGov poll.
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