A few interesting facts about the Holiday Season that most of us know. Thanksgiving is one of the most popular holidays in America, one of the busiest travel days and also – like Christmas – one of the days of the year when the vast majority of Americans actually see other members of their extended family. A California State Automobile Association poll predicts 5.3 million Californians have Thanksgiving holiday driving plans – up 4.1% from the previous year. That’s despite an unemployment rate nearly three points higher than the national average and gasoline prices of about $3.77 per gallon. Although experts want to make you feel good about that by saying its nine cents lower than last month. Whatever …
These are all things we know, but you know what else happens on Thanksgiving? It’s the holiday when everybody actually gets together and talks. About sports, about religion, about who in the family is having kids, and of course about politics. Isn’t every coming of age dramedy film about family getting together for some big holiday meal and the liberal daughter arguing with her conservative uncle about gay rights or abortion? Well this holiday season all keen eyes should take a look at the presidential polling numbers coming next week after holiday season Part I (pre-Christmas) passes.
When family from all parts of the country get together it essentially creates a political focus group the likes of which would make Frank Luntz salivate. Thanksgiving is much more raw than Christmas – people actually fight over the turkey day spread, perhaps amped on a mix of football and spirits. People of all ages, levels of education and regions of the country get together in a fashion that most people never do except this time of year. How often is your uncle working from UPS in Kansas City really going to sit down and chop it up with your sister in law who’s an attorney from Baltimore? Throw in a few college kids who’ve come home from campus in Chicago, and you have a pretty good mix of conversations about where the nation is and how the economy is doing.
If you hear during Thanksgiving dinner how most of the family’s college kids actually have good job prospects this spring, then you’re going to have a much better view of the sitting president. If half the family couldn’t make it to Thanksgiving because your cousin still hasn’t found a job in the last 9 months, then you think the economy is still lousy.
People don’t care about polls: they care about how their families are doing. What’s a 9% unemployment rate to you when everyone around the turkey table is gainfully employed or has been re-hired recently?
Most Americans will have a much stronger opinion about how they feel about Obama, the GOP field and the country as a whole after this weekend. The poll numbers that we’re seeing today should look totally different by next Tuesday.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.