Majorities of Americans say they are planning to take a vacation this summer and are ready for swimsuit season. In addition, the latest Fox News poll finds that despite record-high gasoline prices, most people still choose driving over other modes of transportation as the way to travel to their getaway destination.

Over half of the public (55 percent) say they plan to take a vacation this summer, and of these vacationers 20 percent say they plan to spend more money on their holiday this year than last, 17 percent say they will spend less, and 16 percent say they will spend about the same amount on this year’s vacation.

Opinion Dynamics Corporation (search) conducted the national poll of 900 registered voters for Fox News on May 18-19.

While 39 percent of Americans say they would feel safe going to Athens this summer for the Olympics, a slim majority (52 percent) would feel unsafe traveling there during this time. There has been widely expressed concern over terrorist attacks taking place in Greece during the Olympic Games (search).

Among summer travelers, 53 percent say they plan to travel to their vacation spot by car, 37 percent will travel by plane, three percent will get there in an RV (recreational vehicle), and one percent each for boat, bus and train.

A 57 percent majority says they are “ready” for swimsuit season, while about a third say they aren’t. Women are twice as likely as men to say they are not ready for sporting their bathing suit.

Ready for Swimsuit Season?
Yes No
Men 69% 22
Women 47% 44

Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, many people will attend a picnic or barbeque. For fun, the poll asked Americans with which presidential candidate they would rather have a beer or soda at a picnic. A 42 percent plurality say they would rather have a soda with Republican George W. Bush, 36 percent say Democrat John Kerry (search), 14 percent say “neither” and five percent say “both.”

Almost all Republicans (82 percent) would rather spend time with their party’s candidate compared to only two-thirds of Democrats (66 percent) who choose Kerry. Fourteen percent of Democrats actually pick Bush and eight percent of Republicans pick Kerry. A plurality of independents (38 percent) says they would rather have a soda with Bush, 23 percent Kerry, nine percent “both” and fully 25 percent say “neither.”

Women are evenly split between the two candidates (40 percent Bush and 39 percent Kerry), while men are more likely to prefer spending time with Bush to Kerry (44 percent and 32 percent respectively).

Polling was conducted by telephone May 18-19, 2004 in the evenings. The total sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points.

1. Are you ready for swimsuit season?

All Dem Rep Ind Men Women
1. Yes 57% 59% 53% 59% 69% 47%
2. No 34 31 38 31 22 44
3. (Not sure) 4 5 4 2 5 3
4. (Never wear) 5 5 5 8 4 6

2. Do you plan to take a vacation this summer?

Yes No (Not sure)
18-19 May 04 55% 39 6
6-7 May 03 59% 36 5
4-5 Jun 02 58% 33 9
12-13 Mar 02 65% 30 5

3. (If yes, n=500, ±4%) And how do you plan to travel to your vacation destination? (OPEN ENDED)

Car Plane Train Bus Cruise/
Boat
RV Other/
Don't know
18-19 May 04 53% 37 1 1 1 3 4
4-5 June 02 50% 35 4 3 3 1 4
12-13 Mar 02 50% 36 1 1 1 - 11
9-10 May 01 60% 32 2 1 1 - 4
28-29 May 97 55% 33 3 1 1 - 7

4. If you were at a picnic this Memorial Day, which of the presidential candidates would you rather sit down and have a beer or soda with -- (Bush) or (Kerry)?

All Dem Rep Ind Men Women
1. Bush 42% 14% 82% 38% 44% 40%
2. Kerry 36 66 8 23 32 39
3. (Both) 5 5 3 9 8 3
4. (Neither) 14 12 6 25 13 14
5. (Not sure) 3 3 1 5 4 3

5. Compared to your last vacation, do you plan to spend more or less money on this year's vacation?
SCALE: 1. More 2. Less 3. Same 4. (Not sure) 5. (No plans – Q2)

More Less Same (NS) (No plans)
18-19 May 04 20% 17 16 2 45
6-7 May 03 16% 15 25 3 41
14-15 Mar 01 14% 10 18 2 56

6. How safe would you feel traveling to, and being in Athens, Greece this summer for the Olympics?

1. Very safe 12%
2. Somewhat safe 27
3. Not very safe 22
4. Not at all safe 30
5. (Not sure) 9