How much vacation is too much vacation?

August 15, 2013, 7:54 PM GMT+0

Americans say that Obama takes too much time off for vacation, but on average say that the President should get around four weeks off a year.

Americans with a year of service at a job usually merit less than two weeks of vacation time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; you may get three weeks if you have worked at a job for 25 years. And then there are Presidents. Asked how many weeks of vacation a President should get in the latest YouGov Poll, the average is three weeks – but just as many think a President should get fewer vacation weeks as think he should get more.

Twelve years ago, nearly half supported giving a President four or more vacation weeks, while just 30% favored two weeks or less. Now, 44% want to keep a President’s vacation time down to two weeks or less and 43% would give a President four weeks or more.

With a Democrat in the White House, you might expect a difference between Republicans and Democrats when deciding how much vacation a President should get. And there is one. 51% of Democrats would give the President at least four weeks of vacation time; just 35% of Republicans would.

President Obama has taken just under 100 days of vacation since he became President, just over three weeks for every year he has been in office, according to Mark Knoller of CBS News, who has been keeping tabs on President for nearly two decades. That is less than George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan (but not Bill Clinton) took off at the same point in their second terms. And while it’s safe to say presidents keep working even on vacations, the difference is sizable. George W. Bush had 349 days on vacation, Ronald Reagan 180 days. Both those Presidents owned ranches where they spent much of their “vacation” time. Clinton, who (like Obama) doesn’t own a ranch, had taken 84 days of vacation.

Who do Americans think took the most vacation days? George W. Bush does rank first, but just 27% cited him (including 40% of Democrats). 18% (including 40% of Republicans), say Obama has. But nearly half the public admits not knowing.

Although President Obama has hit the average mark Americans want to see when it comes to the number of weeks of vacation time, by 44% to 34%, the public thinks he takes “too much time off.”

Back in 1971, only 24% thought then-President Richard Nixon took too much time off. Today, the higher percentage saying that about President Obama is driven as much by partisanship as by the actual figures. More than three in four Republicans say the current Democratic incumbent spends too much time on vacation.

Full results can be found here.

Image: Getty.

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