For Christmas Eve, we featured a guest post from Dr. Will Jennings, Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Southampton, which noted a growing trend in the percentage of survey respondents ascribing a partisan preference to Santa Claus from 1998-2001. Unfortunately, those two data points missed most of the Bush 43 years and all of the Obama years. Today, for Christmas, we are happy to report that Dr. Jennings has located new data from 2012! I’ve put all three sets of polls together in the figure below, and the trend is clear: opinions regarding the partisanship of Santa – like much else in the United States – has become even more polarized over the past decade:
One important caveat in comparing these data is that the most recent poll – conducted by Public Policy Polling on December 5-7, 2012 – did not include an options for “independent” – respondents were asked if Santa was a Democratic, a Republican, or if they were Not Sure (which was given as an option). So part of the difference in the proportion of respondents ascribing a partisans proclivity to Santa may be due to the lack of an “independent” option, which was offered in the earlier surveys. That being said, in 2012 we continue to see substantially more people thinking the elderly, white, and apparently well-off Mr. Claus as a Democrat than a Republican – perhaps he belongs to the Warren Buffet wing of the party?