Press Release for Monday, December 8, 2008

Public Opinion Poll: Obama More Likely to Peek at Presents than Bush

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102


A new nationwide poll conducted by the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab finds that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to sneak a peek at or shake their gifts to determine in advance what presents they are getting for Christmas.

The poll, conducted between November 17 and November 20, asked 306 adult respondents questions pertaining to the Christmas holiday, including religious traditions, consumer spending habits, knowledge of Christmas popular culture, and personal holiday traditions from peeking at gifts to setting up the family Christmas tree.

The UNF survey finds that:

--President-elect Barack Obama is more likely to peek at presents than President George W. Bush.

• Nearly one-third of respondents celebrating Christmas (32.7 percent) admit to peeking and/or shaking their presents to determine what they are getting.
• Democrats are more likely to sneak a peek at their presents with more than half (52.4 percent) reporting to either peek at and/or shake them, as compared with only 33.9 percent of Republicans and 17.1 percent of Independents.
• More than 31 percent of respondents believe that children should never be told by their parents the truth about the existence of Santa Claus. Thirty-six percent believe that children should be told before they reach the age 9.

--Republicans are more likely to attend services this Christmas compared to Democrats and Independents.

• More than 86 percent of respondents celebrate Christmas. Of those who celebrate Christmas, 44.2 percent do not attend religious services in observance of the holiday.
• Less than 9 percent of respondents do not celebrate any religious or festive holiday in the month of December. However, none of these claim to be Atheistic or Agnostic. In fact, all self-reported Atheists and Agnostics said they celebrate Christmas.
• Over 68 percent of Republicans celebrating Christmas attend religious services in observance of the Christmas holiday, as opposed to only 54.2 percent of Democrats. Independents are the least likely to go to religious services for Christmas, with exactly 50 percent reporting that they attend.

--Christmas spending is down this year.

• Respondents who celebrate Christmas—45.7 percent—said that they would be spending less this holiday season than they did last year, with 42 percent reporting that they plan to spend about the same and only 11.2 percent saying that they plan to spend more.
• Maybe as a sign of the times, when respondents were asked to identify the item at the top of their wish list this year, the most popular response (19.7 percent) was “nothing.”

--Only 1 in 6 can name all of Santa’s reindeer.

• Only one in six respondents (16.7 percent) were able to correctly identify all nine of Santa’s reindeer. Some 74.2 percent were able to name Rudolph, Blitzen coming in as the second most popular with 60.4 percent of respondents being able to name him. Dasher is the least well-known of Santa’s reindeer, with only 38.7 percent of respondents mentioning him.
• Only 17.2 percent of subjects were able to correctly identify the gift that the “true love” gave on the sixth day in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” as six geese a-laying.
• Republicans who celebrate Christmas appear to be well-versed in Christmas trivia than their Democratic counterparts, as 57.1 percent were able to identify that, in the Christmas special “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” Rudolph’s friend Hermey was planning to leave the elfing profession to take up a career in dentistry. Only 26.2 percent of Democrats were able to identify dentistry as Hermey’s career of choice, while only slightly more Independents (29.9 percent) answered correctly.

To view the full report, visit: http://www.unf.edu/coas/porl/reports/Holiday2008.pdf.

-UNF-