Santa’s (Political!) Party

The following is a guest post from  Dr. Will Jennings, Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Southampton.  A modified version is cross-posted on the Politics Upside Down blog.

Happy holidays from The Monkey Cage!


A question that has been sadly neglected by political scientists is Santa Claus’ partisan sympathies. We know a little, however, about whether Santa is seen as being on the left or the right of the political spectrum, or whether he transcends the partisan divide. In a Zogby poll of 1,043 adults in the US (in December 2001), respondents were asked:

In your opinion if Santa Claus was a registered voter, what political party would he most likely support?

Some 26% thought Santa would be a Democrat supporter (perhaps reflecting his ties to to social welfare), while just 15% thought Santa would be a Republican (keeping in mind Santa only brings presents for children have been good each year, suggesting a strict social conservatism behind his charitable facade). Far more, 43%, thought Sanda would be an independent, standing above the partisan rancour of politics (with some 16% unsure). We still don’t know, however, whether Santa’s schedule for this year includes a stop-off in Congress to solve the partisan impasse over the ‘fiscal cliff’, with hard-line elements of the Republican Party stubbornly refusing a compromise.

Santa has sadly not been immune to the growing polarization of US politics in recent years. In December 1998, Fox News/Opinion Dynamics asked a similar  question “Do you think Santa Claus would be a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent?”. In contrast, just 9% of people thought Santa would be a Democrat and 6% a Republican, with 62% suggesting he would be an independent. In just three years a quarter of the US public had taken a more polarized stance on poor Santa. It is only a matter of time before polarization occurs in judging who has been naughty and who has been nice.

2 Responses to Santa’s (Political!) Party

  1. Seth December 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    Also, see P.J. O’Rourke on this question:

    As far as I know, Santa was not born in this country and does not reside in it, and I do not think he’s ever claimed citizenship. So I strongly doubt that he votes in U.S. elections or has a party preference. But for purely self-interested reasons, as a resident of a (shrinking) polar cap, he might want to affiliate with the party that supports climate change legislation.

  2. ChevalierdeJohnstone December 25, 2012 at 2:35 am #

    While Seth is technically correct, Santa’s identity is of course a social construct as is anyone’s, and the modern view of Santa was decidedly developed in the U.S. by members of the American populace.

    In addition, Santa has been provided honorary citizenship by lawful representatives of several nations.

    Since Clement Clarke Moore was a slave-owner who opposed abolition, the modern version of Santa Claus, which owes much to popular and corporate interpretation of Moore’s poem, was probably a Southern Democrat. Since Santa is popularly portrayed as of obvious European ancestry, he probably switched to Republican in the mid-20th century.