2016 Made Us Lose Our Belief in Santa

| Tom Jensen

The 2016 election sapped us of our hope and joy.

When PPP did a poll on the holidays immediately following the 2012 election, 52% of Americans said they believed in Santa Claus, to 45% who said they did not. We’ve re-upped that question in the wake of this year’s election, and belief in Santa Claus has gone all the way down to 31% with non-belief shooting up to 59%. It’s not even just Democrats dispirited about the results of the election who have lost their belief in Santa. Republicans (52% in 2012, 34% now), Democrats (55% in 2012, 32% now), and independents (47% in 2012, 27% now) have all had their belief in Santa dashed in pretty similar numbers.

A majority of Republicans may not believe in Santa but if he does exist they know one thing about him- he’s white. GOP voters nationally by a 54-6 margin say that Santa is white, with 41% having no opinion one way or another. 57% of Democrats have no opinion on this question and those who do are relatively divided, with 26% saying Santa’s white to 18% who say he’s not.

Americans are pretty confident that they’re on Santa’s ‘Nice List,’ with 70% believing they’ve earned that distinction to 8% who think they’re on the ‘Naughty List.’ They’re not so confident in the gift prospects for their President-elect. Only 35% of voters think that Donald Trump is on Santa’s ‘Nice List’ to 47% who think he’s on the ‘Naughty List.’

As it turns out the whole ‘Merry Christmas’ vs. ‘Happy Holidays’ debate is something that Trump voters get a whole lot more worked up about than Clinton voters. Only 5% of Clinton voters say they’re offended by the phrase Merry Christmas, compared to 19% of Trump voters who say they’re offended by Happy Holidays. Trump voters say by a 69-4 margin that they prefer the phrase Merry Christmas to Happy Holidays. Meanwhile 63% of Clinton voters say they don’t care, with those who have a preference split between Merry Christmas (23%) and Happy Holidays (14%).

Only 34% of Americans think there’s a War on Christmas, to 51% who don’t. That’s down from 3 years ago when 41% thought there was a War on Christmas to 47% who didn’t, so evidently the war on the War on Christmas is one we’re winning. 60% of Trump voters do still think there’s a War on Christmas to 25% who say there isn’t though. In fact 24% of Trump voters say that the War on Christmas concerns them more than a potential war with China would.

Much has been made of economic anxiety driving the support of Trump voters this year, so here’s one final data point on economic anxiety for the year. While Clinton voters view the holiday Kwanzaa favorably by a 62/5 margin, Trump voters are evenly divided on it at 30/30. If having a negative opinion of Kwanzaa doesn’t spell e-c-o-n-o-m-i-c a-n-x-i-e-t-y I don’t know what does. Overall Kwanzaa comes in with a 47/18 favorability rating, compared to 91/5 for Christmas and 75/5 for Hanukkah.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanzaa, or Happy Whatever the Heck You Want.

See you in 2017.

Full results here


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