38% of Americans would choose to make Election Day a federal holiday
Are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? If you aren’t, you won’t be alone this Sunday, March 17. Most Americans have no plans to celebrate. Only 20% in the latest Economist/YouGov poll plan to do anything special for St. Patrick’s Day – and for most of them that means simply wearing green.
St. Patrick is a Catholic saint, the patron saint of Ireland, noted for having brought Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, and reputed to have driven out snakes from that country (though Ireland never had snakes). Catholics are more likely to celebrate the day. Those who celebrate the Irish holiday are also more likely than other Americans to wear green, attend a parade, and eat a traditional Irish dinner.
Still, many Catholics won’t celebrate.
Only one in ten Americans (and 18% of Catholics) want to turn St. Patrick’s Day into a new federal holiday. Nearly four times as many would turn Election Day into a holiday – more than say that about Christmas Eve or the Friday after Thanksgiving.
But wanting that holiday is a partisan matter. A majority of Democrats would turn Election Day into a national holiday, but only one in five Republicans agree. After gaining control of the House of Representatives in 2018, Democrats turned this into a central issue: making Election Day a national holiday is part of House Resolution 1, which includes the overhaul of election mechanisms and rules. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell condemned the bill, which has passed the House of Representatives, as a Democratic “power grab.”
Republicans are slightly more likely than Democrats to say Christmas Eve should be a national holiday. About a quarter would extend that honor to the Friday after Thanksgiving. But nearly one in three would add no new federal holidays from those suggested in the question to what is already a double-digit list of federal holidays.
Respondents could select as many new holidays as they wished. Among those naming any (excluding those who wanted no new holidays), 56% picked Election Day, 48% Christmas Eve, and 36% the Friday after Thanksgiving.