It’s road trip time. Many Americans plan to take a vacation this summer, and most will travel by car. The beach edges out the mountains, the countryside is a more desirable destination than the city, and visiting the family — well, that’s really not a vacation at all.

A new FOX News poll finds that 58 percent of Americans plan to take a vacation this summer, about the same number as in the past, although this year the number saying they will spend less on their getaway is higher than those saying they will spend more.

Car trips are popular. Whether by choice or by default, more than twice as many vacationers will travel to their destination by car (62 percent) than by plane (30 percent).

Among groups, folks in the Northeast are 16-percentage points more likely than those in the West to say they will be driving, while those from higher income households are twice as likely to say they will fly.

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"With both gas and airline tickets more expensive than in the past, people say they will try to save something over previous years," comments Opinion Dynamics Chairman John Gorman. "To some extent, they’re probably trying to cut around the edges so they can have the same basic experience to which they are accustomed. When they say they’ll spend ‘less’ they’re almost certainly referring more to fat than to flesh."

The countryside (76 percent) is the clear winner over the city (20 percent) as the preferred destination. By 51 percent to 41 percent, slightly more Americans say they would rather spend vacation time at the beach than in the mountains.

Even so, when it comes to swimming, people would rather jump into an actual swimming pool (47 percent) than a wave-filled ocean (22 percent) or a still lake (16 percent).

For most Americans (57 percent), a family visit is just that — a visit. Only 37 percent consider a trip to see their family a true vacation.

Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from June 27 to June 28. The poll has a 3-point error margin.

Thinking about the upcoming July 4 holiday, Americans say they would rather spend the day with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (40 percent), though almost as many choose New York Sen. Hillary Clinton (31 percent). Nearly one in four says "neither" (23 percent).

Interestingly, 71 percent of Republicans pick Rice, while 56 percent of Democrats pick Clinton. Among women, 37 percent choose Clinton and 35 percent Rice. Nearly half of men (47 percent) choose Rice over Clinton (25 percent).

President George W. Bush tops former Vice President Al Gore as the preferred Independence Day companion by 44 percent to 35 percent. Republicans are much more loyal to their man: 83 percent select Bush, while 66 percent of Democrats choose Gore. A slim 51 percent majority of men says Bush over Gore (30 percent). Women divide almost evenly: 39 percent Gore and 37 percent Bush.

Finally, the poll asked about playing hooky from work. More than half of Americans (53 percent) frown on the practice, but a large minority — 43 percent — thinks it’s okay to call in sick occasionally in order to do something fun. Just to prove once again how everything is political: 52 percent of Democrats think it is okay to play hooky, almost 20 percentage points higher than the number of Republicans who think so (33 percent).

PDF: Click here for full summer vacation poll results.

Americans More Patriotic Today Than Before 9/11

As the country prepares to celebrate its most patriotic holiday, there is a widespread belief among Americans that they are more dedicated to the United States than their friends and neighbors. Majorities say they are more patriotic than others and that they feel more national loyalty today than five years ago, according to a recent FOX News poll.

Two out of three people (66 percent) say they think they are more patriotic than the average American, up from 57 percent last year (June 2005). One in five says they are as patriotic as others (20 percent) and 13 percent less so.

Republicans (78 percent) are significantly more likely than Democrats (56 percent) to say they are more patriotic than other Americans. Conversely, Democrats (21 percent) are more than three times as likely as Republicans (6 percent) to say they are less patriotic.

Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from June 13 to June 14. The poll has a 3-point error margin.

Overall, people think the country is less patriotic today than in the past. Half think Americans are less patriotic than 25 years ago, while just over a third (36 percent) say more patriotic.

Results to this question seem to have been influenced by the 2001 terrorist attacks. Before 9/11, the consensus was that Americans were less patriotic than they were 25 years earlier, with 68 percent saying so in 1998 and 74 percent in 1999. Then, when the question was next asked in 2003, the sentiment reversed as a 55 percent majority said Americans were more patriotic and those saying less patriotic dropped to 30 percent. The number thinking Americans are more patriotic has been declining ever since.

Are Americans More or Less Patriotic Than 25 Years Ago?

More Less
2006 36% 50
2005 43% 42
2004 45% 37
2003 55% 30
1999 16% 74
1998 18% 68

"This is an interesting example of how a single event changed perception, that is made people feel more patriotic, followed by a slow drift back toward the position people held prior to the event," comments Opinion Dynamics Chairman John Gorman. "While the partisan differences aren’t as large as on many other questions, the survey also shows how invested a segment of the Republican Party has become in their perception of themselves as superior patriots."

When asked about the level of Americans' patriotism now compared to five years ago (before 9/11 and the Iraq war), more than half of the public (56 percent) says the country is more patriotic today and 31 percent less patriotic.

On the individual level, 57 percent of Americans say they feel more dedication to their country today than five years ago, 17 percent less patriotic and 25 percent no change. Here again there are striking partisan differences, as Republicans are 22 percentage points more likely than Democrats to say they feel more patriotic.

PDF: Click here for full patriotism poll results.