Thanksgiving and Holiday Shopping

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Slightly more Americans say they would rather have Thanksgiving dinner with President George W. Bush than New York Sen. Hillary Clinton (search), and many say they have already started their holiday shopping.

Almost half of Americans (45 percent) would rather have Thanksgiving dinner with Bush while just over a third (35 percent) would rather dine with the former first lady, according to the latest FOX News/Opinion Dynamics nationwide poll. Five percent find it too difficult to choose and say "both," and 14 percent say "neither."

About eight in 10 Republicans would choose Bush compared to about six in 10 Democrats choosing Clinton. Men are much more likely to pick Bush (51 percent) than Clinton (28 percent), while women are more evenly divided between the two (40 percent Bush and 41 percent Clinton).

A large majority says they "truly enjoy" eating turkey on Thanksgiving, with only 17 percent saying they would prefer a different main dish. And not surprisingly, men choose watching football as their favorite activity for the day after, while a plurality of women says holiday shopping is their favorite thing to do the day after Thanksgiving.

Shopping (and Spending)

Sixty percent of women and nearly half of men (46 percent) say they have already started their holiday shopping. The group most likely to say their shopping is underway is moms (66 percent).

A large minority of Americans (39 percent) admits they "always" (11 percent) or "sometimes" (28 percent) buy something for themselves when they are gift shopping for friends and family.

Planned spending this year is very similar to what people planned to spend last year. Forty percent say they will spend $500 or less on holiday gifts this year, a quarter will spend between $500 and $1000, and 15 percent say they will spend over $1000.

"The estimates that people are giving for their spending seem to indicate that while they aren't cutting back further — which would be really bad for the economy — they are aren't planning on a binge of new, increased spending," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman (search). "Stores are going to be competing for the same number of dollars which probably means cutting prices earlier and deeper than last year."

Less than a third of that shopping will be done over the Internet, as 29 percent of Americans say they will buy holiday gifts online, which is the same percentage as in 2002, but up dramatically from 1997 when only four percent said they would buy gifts over the Internet.

Young adults, those under age 30, are seven times more likely than Americans over age 65 to shop online (57 percent versus eight percent).

Polling was conducted by telephone November 18-19, 2003 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points.

1. Would you rather have Thanksgiving dinner with: (ROTATE)

2. Do you truly enjoy eating turkey on Thanksgiving or would you prefer a different main dish?

3. What is your favorite activity for the day after Thanksgiving? Is it:

4. Have you already started your holiday shopping?

5. How often would you say that you buy something for yourself when you are holiday gift shopping for friends and family?

6. Do you think people will spend more or less on holiday gifts this year compared to last?

7. How much money do you think you will spend on holiday gifts this year? (Open Ended)

8. Will you buy any of your holiday gifts over the Internet?