Thanksgiving’s poll numbers are up

Another study by social scientists that proves  the perfectly obvious:  people like Thanksgiving:

Consensus at last: almost all Americans – from coast to coast and across stiffening party lines – have favorable views of Thanksgiving dinner, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Overall, 93 percent say they have positive views of the traditional meal, including 77 percent who say so “strongly.”

Not everyone, however, is equally enthusiastic about Thursday’s main event. Fully 89 percent of Republicans have strongly favorable views of Thanksgiving dinner, a number that slides to 77 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents.

Across regions, those in the Midwest and South are significantly more positive about the upcoming festivities than are those who live in the Northeast or the West.

According to the accompanying chart, 98% of Republicans have a “strongly favorable” or “favorable” impression of Thanksgiving,  92% of Democrats do, and 91% of Independents; by ethnicity, 95% of Whites, 90% of Hispanics; 86% of African-Americans; by region, 92% of those who live in the Northeast like Thanksgiving, with the Midwest 94%, the South 93%, and the West 91%.  By sex, 93% of both women and men like it, though more women are “strongly favorable” at 78%, compared to men at 74%.

via Rally around Thanksgiving – Behind the Numbers – The Washington Post.

How do you account for the gaps and the differences?  I can see someone who does not have a happy family to go to not liking to have his nose rubbed in it by the holiday.  And I can see someone who does not have very much saddened by the abundance that everyone else is taking for granted.  And I can see someone who is saddled with all of the work in preparing the Thanksgiving feast not thinking it is too much fun.  We should remember people like that and do what we can for them.

But is there anything more to these statistics than that?  Why would one out of ten people in the West not even like Thanksgiving? And what is it with one out of ten Independents scrooging* out on the holiday?

[I may have just invented a new word:  "to scrooge" v.  To actively dislike a holiday.]

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • helen

    Religion? Would you have the same geographic results if you asked about thanking God on a regular basis?

    I could do w/o the “turkey pardoning” though. Unless the President is a strict vegetarian, something’s going to die for his dinner.

  • helen

    Religion? Would you have the same geographic results if you asked about thanking God on a regular basis?

    I could do w/o the “turkey pardoning” though. Unless the President is a strict vegetarian, something’s going to die for his dinner.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    “I could do w/o the “turkey pardoning” though. Unless the President is a strict vegetarian, something’s going to die for his dinner.”

    Touche’, Helen!

    Happy Thanksgiving, all.

    (off to work – bah…humbug)

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    “I could do w/o the “turkey pardoning” though. Unless the President is a strict vegetarian, something’s going to die for his dinner.”

    Touche’, Helen!

    Happy Thanksgiving, all.

    (off to work – bah…humbug)

  • Tom Hering

    Americans used to prefer a natural turkey, which was mostly dark meat. Our taste for white meat grew in the 1950s, and breeders responded by developing the now-standard Thanksgiving bird, the “broad-breasted white” or “industrial white.” A turkey with such huge breasts it can barely walk or stand at full weight. It certainly can’t mate. So workers have to go around getting “contributions” from the males, by hand, and then go around “donating” these to the females, by hand. Further, the birds are packed together so tightly in factory farms, they become stressed and aggressive, and attack one another. So workers clip their toenails and upper beaks – which results in permanent pain. Though “permanent” is not that long. The birds grow so abnormally fast that they’re shipped off to slaughter when they’re just twelve weeks old. Of course, their abnormally fast growth – and abnormally great weight – causes other painful conditions, such as joint pain and ruptured aortas. And the crowding requires the use of lots of antibiotics (not anyone’s favorite marinade) to fend off epidemics.

    Ah well, enough of all that. Give thanks for it and enjoy. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Americans used to prefer a natural turkey, which was mostly dark meat. Our taste for white meat grew in the 1950s, and breeders responded by developing the now-standard Thanksgiving bird, the “broad-breasted white” or “industrial white.” A turkey with such huge breasts it can barely walk or stand at full weight. It certainly can’t mate. So workers have to go around getting “contributions” from the males, by hand, and then go around “donating” these to the females, by hand. Further, the birds are packed together so tightly in factory farms, they become stressed and aggressive, and attack one another. So workers clip their toenails and upper beaks – which results in permanent pain. Though “permanent” is not that long. The birds grow so abnormally fast that they’re shipped off to slaughter when they’re just twelve weeks old. Of course, their abnormally fast growth – and abnormally great weight – causes other painful conditions, such as joint pain and ruptured aortas. And the crowding requires the use of lots of antibiotics (not anyone’s favorite marinade) to fend off epidemics.

    Ah well, enough of all that. Give thanks for it and enjoy. :-D

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    For Canadian Thanksgiving, we gave up on Turkey,and had a slow roiasted leg of mutton (note: mutton, not lamb) instead. With homemade mint jelly……

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    For Canadian Thanksgiving, we gave up on Turkey,and had a slow roiasted leg of mutton (note: mutton, not lamb) instead. With homemade mint jelly……

  • SKPeterson

    Tom @ 3 – I can only imagine what they do to get a Turducken!

  • SKPeterson

    Tom @ 3 – I can only imagine what they do to get a Turducken!

  • Tom Hering

    “A turducken is a dish consisting of a de-boned chicken stuffed into a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed into a de-boned turkey.” – Wikipedia.

    Sounds like a desperate attempt to give some flavor to the flavorless factory-farm turkey, which has been called the Wonder Bread of meats (by meat lovers). But this might be why 7% of the population doesn’t care for the Thanksgiving holiday: it’s primarily about the consumption of huge amounts of unexceptional food. And then sitting around in exceptional discomfort. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    “A turducken is a dish consisting of a de-boned chicken stuffed into a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed into a de-boned turkey.” – Wikipedia.

    Sounds like a desperate attempt to give some flavor to the flavorless factory-farm turkey, which has been called the Wonder Bread of meats (by meat lovers). But this might be why 7% of the population doesn’t care for the Thanksgiving holiday: it’s primarily about the consumption of huge amounts of unexceptional food. And then sitting around in exceptional discomfort. :-D

  • SKPeterson

    Actually, I think duck would be a fantastic Thanksgiving dish all on its own. Along with a platter of smoked salmon or steelhead and some of Klasie’s roast mutton. Add all the rest of the traditional trimmings and that would be a feast. Maybe even a nice rich elk stew in a hearty red wine base (we did that one year on the one camp out a year for my son’s Scout troop where the adults do the cooking – it was like one of those gourmet cowboy cooking shows).

  • SKPeterson

    Actually, I think duck would be a fantastic Thanksgiving dish all on its own. Along with a platter of smoked salmon or steelhead and some of Klasie’s roast mutton. Add all the rest of the traditional trimmings and that would be a feast. Maybe even a nice rich elk stew in a hearty red wine base (we did that one year on the one camp out a year for my son’s Scout troop where the adults do the cooking – it was like one of those gourmet cowboy cooking shows).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom – a Turducken is a modern descendant of the traditional Game pie. The practice of stuffing birds inside each other became common in the mid 1700′s inside each other –

    She was a careful yet liberal housekeeper, and well skilled in cookery, pastry, and confectionery. I have heard of a pie she raised in the form of a goose trussed for the spit; the real goose was boned; a duck was boned and laid within it; a fowl was boned and laid within the duck; a boned partridge within the fowl; and a boned pigeon within the partridge. The whole having been properly seasoned, the interstices were filled with rich gravy

    -also from wikipedia, but requoted from William Hutoon’s 1816 autobiography. The practice developed to bake these in a pastry shell, cool it, then serve it cold, thinly sliced. PBS broadcasted a BBC series not that long ago called Victorian Farm Christmas, in which people recreated mid-Victorian tradions in the UK. This was one of the dishes that the recreated.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom – a Turducken is a modern descendant of the traditional Game pie. The practice of stuffing birds inside each other became common in the mid 1700′s inside each other –

    She was a careful yet liberal housekeeper, and well skilled in cookery, pastry, and confectionery. I have heard of a pie she raised in the form of a goose trussed for the spit; the real goose was boned; a duck was boned and laid within it; a fowl was boned and laid within the duck; a boned partridge within the fowl; and a boned pigeon within the partridge. The whole having been properly seasoned, the interstices were filled with rich gravy

    -also from wikipedia, but requoted from William Hutoon’s 1816 autobiography. The practice developed to bake these in a pastry shell, cool it, then serve it cold, thinly sliced. PBS broadcasted a BBC series not that long ago called Victorian Farm Christmas, in which people recreated mid-Victorian tradions in the UK. This was one of the dishes that the recreated.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SKP – the secret to Mutton is very slow, low temperature roasting, otherwise it could be pretty tough. Treat it like game. Actually, combining it with something like elk stew is not such a bad idea, because of the latters gaminess. As long as it is not farmed elk (what with chronic wasting disease and all that).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SKP – the secret to Mutton is very slow, low temperature roasting, otherwise it could be pretty tough. Treat it like game. Actually, combining it with something like elk stew is not such a bad idea, because of the latters gaminess. As long as it is not farmed elk (what with chronic wasting disease and all that).

  • SKPeterson

    The elk was Montana range grown. It was also marinated for about 5 days prior to being slow cooked in the stew. It was extremely tender and the gaminess was quite mild. It made a nice contrast with the vegetables and the red wine base. Of course, the boys hated it to the great pleasure the adults!

  • SKPeterson

    The elk was Montana range grown. It was also marinated for about 5 days prior to being slow cooked in the stew. It was extremely tender and the gaminess was quite mild. It made a nice contrast with the vegetables and the red wine base. Of course, the boys hated it to the great pleasure the adults!

  • helen

    We had duck, or occasionally a goose, when I was growing up on a farm.
    I still prefer duck, when I can get one that’s been allowed to grow up. We raised them free range to 6-8 lbs.
    (“Long Island ducklings” don’t have enough meat on their bones for two people. )

  • helen

    We had duck, or occasionally a goose, when I was growing up on a farm.
    I still prefer duck, when I can get one that’s been allowed to grow up. We raised them free range to 6-8 lbs.
    (“Long Island ducklings” don’t have enough meat on their bones for two people. )

  • helen

    Sorry, Steve, some jobs are like that.
    My pharmacist daughter got off today, but will work Christmas.
    [When she began, grocery stores were closed both days.]

  • helen

    Sorry, Steve, some jobs are like that.
    My pharmacist daughter got off today, but will work Christmas.
    [When she began, grocery stores were closed both days.]

  • Spaulding

    I have wanted to try goose sometime, but the geese in the lake near where I live eat: dung, garbage and grass that has been sprayed with who know what. And am of the opinion that why should I buy a goose when there is an inexhaustible supply of them not that far from me.

  • Spaulding

    I have wanted to try goose sometime, but the geese in the lake near where I live eat: dung, garbage and grass that has been sprayed with who know what. And am of the opinion that why should I buy a goose when there is an inexhaustible supply of them not that far from me.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Veith asked:

    Why would one out of ten people in the West not even like Thanksgiving?

    Well, according to the article at the link, that “one-out-of-ten” number is fairly consistent across most of the groups, except maybe Whites and Republicans, so that’s not what really distinguishes the West from other regions. It’s just that, in the West, people are ever so slightly less enthusiastic about the holiday, with 22% viewing the holiday only “somewhat” favorably, compared to 12% and 11% in the Midwest and South. Hardly earth-shattering.

    But if I had to guess at why this discrepancy, such as it is, exists, I’d say that it’s because Thanksgiving is, primarily, a holiday about social connections. The whole point is to gather together with someone — typically family, though I spent many of my earliest Thanksgivings hanging out with other young people I’d come to know well, who also had no family in town.

    And that may get at what’s going on out here in the West: there are lots of people without any social connections. The West is often where people move to, having left family in, well, the South, the Midwest, and so on. So maybe 10% more of us out here just aren’t connected enough to enjoy the holiday. I’d believe that.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Veith asked:

    Why would one out of ten people in the West not even like Thanksgiving?

    Well, according to the article at the link, that “one-out-of-ten” number is fairly consistent across most of the groups, except maybe Whites and Republicans, so that’s not what really distinguishes the West from other regions. It’s just that, in the West, people are ever so slightly less enthusiastic about the holiday, with 22% viewing the holiday only “somewhat” favorably, compared to 12% and 11% in the Midwest and South. Hardly earth-shattering.

    But if I had to guess at why this discrepancy, such as it is, exists, I’d say that it’s because Thanksgiving is, primarily, a holiday about social connections. The whole point is to gather together with someone — typically family, though I spent many of my earliest Thanksgivings hanging out with other young people I’d come to know well, who also had no family in town.

    And that may get at what’s going on out here in the West: there are lots of people without any social connections. The West is often where people move to, having left family in, well, the South, the Midwest, and so on. So maybe 10% more of us out here just aren’t connected enough to enjoy the holiday. I’d believe that.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As to Thanksgiving particulars in my family, we’ve taken to eating Thanksgiving dinner with some very good friends of ours — us, all our kids, and whatever grandparents happen to be in town. It’s quite the blessing to have friends you like so much, and whose parents you like (and they like mine as well). It also makes meal prep a little easier, since a traditional Thanksgiving doesn’t really scale down to small units so well.

    Somehow, part of this mixed family (if you will) tradition has been to order a turducken from some Cajun food shipper down in Louisiana. It started as a lark, when turduckens were somewhat meme-ing around the Internet, but they’re so easy to cook that my friends have continued ordering one every year. Given that the bird layers are separated by andouille sausage, I won’t complain. I kind of prefer spicy sausage to turkey, regardless of tradition, though this allows me to have both and give a nod to the pro forma requirements of the day.

    But Tom, how could you say this (@6)?!

    it’s primarily about the consumption of huge amounts of unexceptional food

    My dear sir, I hope this isn’t true for you today! But if it is, then thank God for your unexceptional food as well, and I will be thinking of you as we have our dinner. For me, it’s a time to enjoy slightly more expensive wines, to make the one baked dessert I know how to make (a Linzertorte), and to enjoy Brussels sprouts (which I first learned to enjoy at a Thanksgiving years ago — with pancetta and lemon juice!).

    Anyhow, a happy Thanksgiving to you all, regardless of what’s on your plate today. God has blessed us so very richly. Amen.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As to Thanksgiving particulars in my family, we’ve taken to eating Thanksgiving dinner with some very good friends of ours — us, all our kids, and whatever grandparents happen to be in town. It’s quite the blessing to have friends you like so much, and whose parents you like (and they like mine as well). It also makes meal prep a little easier, since a traditional Thanksgiving doesn’t really scale down to small units so well.

    Somehow, part of this mixed family (if you will) tradition has been to order a turducken from some Cajun food shipper down in Louisiana. It started as a lark, when turduckens were somewhat meme-ing around the Internet, but they’re so easy to cook that my friends have continued ordering one every year. Given that the bird layers are separated by andouille sausage, I won’t complain. I kind of prefer spicy sausage to turkey, regardless of tradition, though this allows me to have both and give a nod to the pro forma requirements of the day.

    But Tom, how could you say this (@6)?!

    it’s primarily about the consumption of huge amounts of unexceptional food

    My dear sir, I hope this isn’t true for you today! But if it is, then thank God for your unexceptional food as well, and I will be thinking of you as we have our dinner. For me, it’s a time to enjoy slightly more expensive wines, to make the one baked dessert I know how to make (a Linzertorte), and to enjoy Brussels sprouts (which I first learned to enjoy at a Thanksgiving years ago — with pancetta and lemon juice!).

    Anyhow, a happy Thanksgiving to you all, regardless of what’s on your plate today. God has blessed us so very richly. Amen.

  • Tom Hering

    “But Tom, how could you say this (@6)?!”

    Based on almost sixty years worth of Thanksgiving dinners. Not that any of it has been bad food. It’s just that the traditional dishes, while very filling, aren’t particularly tasty – with the exception of a cranberry concoction here and there. I do realize that some folks (like yourself) go the extra mile to surprise everyone’s taste buds. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    “But Tom, how could you say this (@6)?!”

    Based on almost sixty years worth of Thanksgiving dinners. Not that any of it has been bad food. It’s just that the traditional dishes, while very filling, aren’t particularly tasty – with the exception of a cranberry concoction here and there. I do realize that some folks (like yourself) go the extra mile to surprise everyone’s taste buds. :-D

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    If you cook turkey with tender love and care–as opposed to just drying it out in an oven–it can be fantastic. I smoke our turkey for 8 hours with Mesquite wood the day before Thanksgiving. It comes out moist, tender, and flavorful.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    If you cook turkey with tender love and care–as opposed to just drying it out in an oven–it can be fantastic. I smoke our turkey for 8 hours with Mesquite wood the day before Thanksgiving. It comes out moist, tender, and flavorful.

  • helen

    Smoked turkey is very good; I’ve had that some years.

    My family recipe for bread dressing with sage and onion (among other things) has just been pronounced a hit with a new in-law of the next generation. It may continue, therefore. :)
    (If my own children had enough dressing and gravy leftovers, they didn’t worry much about the turkey.)

  • helen

    Smoked turkey is very good; I’ve had that some years.

    My family recipe for bread dressing with sage and onion (among other things) has just been pronounced a hit with a new in-law of the next generation. It may continue, therefore. :)
    (If my own children had enough dressing and gravy leftovers, they didn’t worry much about the turkey.)

  • SAL

    I’m a Thanksgiving scrooge. Yesterday I did some housework and ate a BLT. Thanksgiving is just getting too expensive to enjoy.

  • SAL

    I’m a Thanksgiving scrooge. Yesterday I did some housework and ate a BLT. Thanksgiving is just getting too expensive to enjoy.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Butter, garlic, Italian seasoning, and paprika rubbed on the meat under the skin goes a long way to making a tasty turkey. I also use a bag to cook in makes keeping it moist much easier.

    Maybe those who don’t like Thanksgiving see it as a holiday that commemorates the oppression of the indigenous tribes.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Butter, garlic, Italian seasoning, and paprika rubbed on the meat under the skin goes a long way to making a tasty turkey. I also use a bag to cook in makes keeping it moist much easier.

    Maybe those who don’t like Thanksgiving see it as a holiday that commemorates the oppression of the indigenous tribes.


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