Sorry, Hallmark: YouGov’s latest polling suggests that most Americans don’t see Valentine’s Day as being a particularly special occasion.
A recent poll of 1,000 people found that the majority of U.S. adult citizens (58%) don’t think Valentine’s Day is a real special occasion. However, 30% say it is. Roughly equal percentages of men (31%) and women (30%) believe that Valentine’s Day is a special occasion.
Adults under 30 (36%) are slightly more likely than 30- to 44-year-olds (31%), 45 -to 64-year-olds (29%), and those 65 and older (28%) to say that Valentine’s Day is a real special occasion.
Although 30% of Americans think Valentine’s Day is a special occasion, YouGov’s data suggests that they rank it below every other major holiday.
Around four in five say they prefer Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day; the same share say the prefer Christmas. Two-thirds (65%) say they like Mother’s Day more than they like Valentine’s Day, and 64% say they prefer Fourth of July. New Year’s Eve (59%), Halloween (54%), Father’s Day (53%), and Memorial Day (53%) also all beat Valentine’s Day in head-to-head questioning.
The only holiday that Valentine’s Day even comes close to topping Labor Day, but even this holiday outranks Valentine’s Day, with 43% saying they prefer it compared to 35% who say they like Valentine’s Day more.
Among women, the gap is a bit narrower on Labor Day vs. Valentine’s Day. Four in 10 (40%) like Labor Day better, while 37% say they enjoy Valentine’s Day more. Men are 14 percentage points more likely to say they prefer Labor Day (47%) than Valentine’s Day (33%).
Different age groups also rank the holidays slightly differently. Though no age group had a majority who preferred Valentine’s Day over another holiday, younger Americans are more likely to have a narrow gap between Valentine’s Day and Labor Day. For those under 30, Labor Day barely ranks higher (40% vs 38%). Among 30- to 44-year-olds, the two holidays are practically tied, with 39% who say they prefer Labor Day and 38% who prefer Valentine’s Day.
Those older than 65 prefer Labor Day (51%) to Valentine’s Day (32%) by a wide margin. But when it comes to Halloween, just 43% of this group likes Halloween more while 41% say they prefer Valentine’s Day.
The relatively low ranking of Valentine’s Day compared to other holidays could be attributed to many people’s disappointing Valentine’s Day experiences in the past.
Among those who have ever celebrated a Valentine’s Day with a partner, one-third (34%) say they’ve been let down by their partner not doing enough to celebrate the holiday. Close to half (46%) of women who have ever celebrated the day with a partner say they’ve been let down. About half as many men (21%) have had the same experience.
Americans who are divorced are more likely (44%) than those who are married (30%) or those who have never been married (34%) to say they’ve been let down by a partner on Valentine’s Day.
Methodology: This U.S. News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online on January 27 - 31, 2022. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the 2018 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as 2016 and 2020 Presidential votes (or non-votes). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3% for the overall sample.
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