Should Juneteenth be a national holiday?

Linley SandersData Journalist
June 16, 2020, 2:30 PM UTC

A plurality of Americans believes that Juneteenth (June 19), which celebrates the announcement that black slaves were freed from their enslavers, should be a federal holiday (45%).

YouGov Poll found that most young adults think Juneteenth — also referred to as Freedom Day or Black Independence Day — should be celebrated as a federal holiday. A majority of 18-to 24-year-olds (57%) support making Juneteenth a federal holiday, as do about three in five (62%) 25-to 34-year-olds. Fewer than half of adults who are 35 or older support the creation of the new holiday.  

The poll, which was conducted of 5,000 US Adults, found that about three in 10 Americans (29%) oppose the creation of the proposed holiday to commemorate the end to slavery. A plurality of those over 55 years old (42%) are opposed. About one-quarter (26%) of Americans are uncertain about whether Juneteenth should be a national holiday. 

There’s a distinction in younger Americans supporting Juneteenth. However, younger Americans are not simply likely to support any new holidayFewer than half (48%) of 18-to 24-year-olds want Election Day to be made a federal holiday, for instance. In contrast, older Americans are significantly more likely to support Election Day becoming a federal holiday rather than Juneteenth. 

This level of support (45%) for Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday is consistent with when YouGov asked the same question in 2019. That earlier dataset of 8,047 US Adults shows significant racial differences in who supports Juneteenth. A majority of black Americans (63%) say they support it becoming a national holiday, whereas a plurality of white Americans (45%) do not.

See the toplines from the 2020 YouGov poll and the 2019 YouGov poll
Contact uspress@yougov.com for additional crosstabs from this poll. 

Methodology5,230 US Adults were asked: “Do you believe that Juneteenth, which celebrates the day that black slaves were freed from their enslavers, should or should not be a federal holiday?” Response options: It should be a federal holiday, it should not be a federal holiday, or don’t know. The survey was conducted June 10, 2020.  This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education to be nationally representative of all US Adults 

Image: Getty