UNH poll finds liberals more likely to say, ‘Happy Holidays’


The Keene Sentinel

Published: 12-28-2023 6:50 PM

After a year of weighty political and policy polls, the University of New Hampshire Survey Center ended 2023 on a lighter note.

“Nearly half of Granite Staters will have an artificial Christmas tree this year, with many citing lower costs and less work as the reason why,” according to the poll of 1,180 people, released Dec. 20. “Less than a third will have a real tree, citing tradition and the look and smell of a real tree.”

This continues a trend. In 2000, nearly ⅔ of state residents chose to have a real tree, according to a news release with the poll, which was conducted Dec. 14 to 18 and also examined the way people greet one another.

“Democrats, self-described socialists, progressives, liberals, young people and Seacoast residents are more likely to say ‘Happy Holidays,’ while Republicans, self-described moderates, conservatives, and libertarians, those aged 35 to 49 or 65 and older, and Manchester residents are particularly likely to say ‘Merry Christmas,’ ” the poll’s news release said.

This examination of greetings and trees is a yearly departure for UNH, which tested public opinion this past year on housing, support for Israel, personal finances, climate change, marijuana legalization, the war in Ukraine, political candidates and more.

The center has been conducting polls for three decades, and does about 50 each year.

On Feb. 8, 2020, three days before the last New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, it released a poll showing support for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont at 28%, with Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., second at 21%.

Sanders ended up winning that election with 25.7% of the vote, and Buttigieg was second at 24.4%. Their percentages were within the poll’s 3.7% margin of sampling error.

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The poll showed support for Joe Biden at 11%. He ended up with 8.4% of the vote.

The future president’s candidacy didn’t get back on track until he made a strong showing in South Carolina in 2020.

This year, the Democratic National Committee urged at Biden’s request that South Carolina be given the first 2024 primary, despite New Hampshire’s long tradition and law requiring it to go first. N.H. Secretary of State Dave Scanlan rejected the DNC’s schedule, and the Granite State will hold the first-in-the-nation primary on Jan. 23.

About a month ago, the survey center released a poll that found that even though Biden decided not to be on the New Hampshire primary ballot, nearly two-thirds of likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire plan to write him in.

“Granite Staters largely view Biden unfavorably and disapprove of his performance as president, but former President Trump is even more unpopular and potential third-party candidates are disliked or unknown in the state.”

Meanwhile, a UNH poll released Nov. 16 showed Trump remains the most popular Republican candidate in next month’s Republican presidential primary in New Hampshire, with former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley gaining support and in second place, followed by former New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.