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Results of Reagan Birthday Holiday Survey

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Results of Reagan Birthday Holiday Survey

This analysis is based on the results from the poll of 504 adults in the United States conducted by Competitive Edge Research on February 1 through 3, 2011.

Although Americans generally think highly of President Ronald Reagan — even placing him in polls ahead of George Washington and near Abraham Lincoln in terms of “greatness” — they are not prepared to grant themselves a holiday in his honor. Competitive Edge’s national survey finds that in the week before the centennial of Reagan’s birth, only three in ten Americans support designating his birthday as a public holiday.

“The one-hundredth anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s birth is coming up on February 6th. Do you think it should be or it should not be declared a federal public holiday which would be observed every year on the weekday closest to Reagan’s birthday?”

  • Definitely should be: 19.3%
  • Probably should be: 10.9%
  • Probably should not be: 18.4%
  • Definitely should not be: 43.8%
  • Unsure: 7.7%

The survey shows a clear tilt toward Reagan among strong Republicans. As the chart below illustrates, strong Republicans go against the general sentiment. However, moderates within the GOP are generally not on board with the idea of a national Reagan holiday, while independents and Democrats tend to be solidly against it.

But other findings from the survey clearly suggest that far more than politics is at play on this question. Although some may characterize Reagan as a “rich man’s” President, that does not come through in this poll. Indeed, it is the affluent who voice some of the strongest opposition to a Reagan holiday. Almost 60% of those in households earning more than $80,000 annually are definitely against the idea, and another 16% a less definite in their opposition. In contrast, the feeling among lower income voters is far less strident, with 39% supporting a holiday to honor Reagan.

Similarly, a Reagan holiday gets very little support from American seniors, despite the 40th President being the oldest one in our nation’s history. In fact, it is those younger than 26 – themselves far too young to recall a Reagan presidency – who tend to most support making his birthday a holiday! These two findings suggest that Americans may be just as likely to consider the extra day off from work as they are to consider the honoree.

One other significant finding would probably elicit a smile from the Gipper: his legendarily optimistic disposition is reflected in the results. As part of the survey, we asked respondents their impressions of various US cities. Those who tend to know and like American cities are more supportive of a Reagan holiday, with 45% of these upbeat souls saying a day off in his honor would be a good thing. This is the case even after controlling for partisanship. Unfortunately for Reagan’s supporters, only 10% of Americans currently fall into this upbeat category. The other 90% who are either not as positive or simply do not know about US cities generally oppose a Reagan holiday.

About the Competitive Edge Reagan Holiday Survey

Founded in 1987, Competitive Edge Research & Communication (CERC) is a national public opinion research firm specializing in civic, political and public opinion polling. The study is conducted as part of CERC’s on-going civic research. The telephone poll is paid for and conducted by CERC among 504 randomly selected English-speaking US residents with both the landline and cell phone-only population. The results were weighted by age and phone type to approximate the parameters of the overall US population. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.4%.

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