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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The “politics” of cruises

An interesting article on a form of vacation. Who takes more cruises, Republicans or Democrats? And how has the Covid epidemic changed this.  

The politics of cruise ships, and more!

…Ordinarily, we wouldn’t consider any one mode of travel particularly political. But someone brought to our attention a newsletter writer who characterized Democrats as “snobs” who look down on anyone who “goes on cruises or to all-inclusive resorts.”

Hmm. Is that right? Do cruises and all-inclusive resorts really attract a predominantly Republican clientele?

We tracked down our friend Carl Bialik at YouGov, a polling impresario who once wrote the (excellent) Numbers column at the Wall Street Journal. Late last year, YouGov asked 1,000 American adults this very question (at least the one about cruises) as a way to gauge how the coronavirus pandemic had changed our behavior.

Bialik found that the partisan gap among cruisegoers doesn’t yawn nearly as wide as some commentators might think. When asked if they’d been on a cruise before the pandemic, 16 percent of Democrats and 20 percent of Republicans said yes. That gap looks particularly unremarkable given that the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. 

That is a pretty significant margin error. Then again, it’s a small survey group to project on a nation of over 330 million.

Slicing the data by the 2020 presidential vote yields a slightly bigger gap: 17 percent of Biden voters and 26 percent of Trump voters said they had been on a cruise at some point before the pandemic.

As you might guess, your likelihood of boarding a cruise ship seems to increase alongside your age, as well as your income. Looking at cruisegoers by other characteristics, Whites (19 percent) were more likely to cruise than Black or Hispanic Americans (both 12 percent), while Southerners (20 percent) were more likely than Midwesterners (13 percent).

Can see Southerners going on more cruises than Yankees. We got the ports the good people in the Midwest don’t have. 

But there are signs that the covid era has blown the partisan gap in cruising wide open. While about a third (32 percent) of 2020 Trump voters said they would be “very comfortable” going on a cruise right now, only 11 percent of Biden voters said the same. Meanwhile, nearly half of Biden voters (48 percent) said the opposite — that they would in fact be “very uncomfortable” cruising — more than double the rate of unease among their Trump-voting peers… 

So is it cultural snobbery or covid caution that’s driving the divide? You may recall that cruise ships played a starring role in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak. At one point in February 2020, a ship called the Diamond Princess had more covid cases than anywhere else in the world outside mainland China, where the virus originated…

…Looking deeper into the survey results, we find support for the covid caution theory. Because it’s not just cruise ships that make Biden voters nervous. Other activities that require mingling with large crowds in public aren’t quite as polarizing, but they all show growing partisan gaps.

Before the pandemic, Biden and Trump voters were equally likely to have attended a concert or traveled by airplane, for example: Everyone was close to 50 percent. Now, Biden voters are less than half as likely to be “very comfortable” with concerts and plane flights as Trump voters are.

Biden voters are even less comfortable taking public transportation than Trump voters, despite the fact that they were much more likely to ride on public buses and subways before covid hit.

Very understandable. Biden voters, Democrats in general, want to force Trump voters (all Americans for that matter) into mass transit or hamper mobility in one form or another.  

So while there does seem to be a partisan gap on cruising, it looks to us like a manifestation of a larger partisan divide over the need for continued vigilance against covid rather than any elitist disdain for the big boats, onboard entertainment and 24-hour buffets.  

Actually I didn’t get into any political discussions with the other guest on the last cruise I took with the family back in 2022. But I can see leftist distain for cruise ships, entertainment and a lot of food. Liberals don’t seem to enjoy themselves much. But more to the point, they don’t want others to enjoy themselves. 

So to piss off the libs out there, the wife and I are taking an Alaskan cruise in a couple of months. We will eat, drink and be merry. Please stay home surrounded by the gun fire from the Obama voters, stick to your vegan diet and just leave the rest of regular America alone. 

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