1250 Broadway, 27th Floor New York, NY 10001


These poll numbers were released earlier today by Rasmussen Reports -- "an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information."


50% Say Memorial Day Nation's Most Important Holiday

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fifty percent (50%) of Americans view Memorial Day, officially celebrated tomorrow, as one of the nation's most important holidays, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Just three percent (3%) say it's one of the least important holidays, while 47% rate it somewhere in between.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of adults plan to do something special to celebrate the day which honors those Americans who died while serving in the military. Twenty-six percent (26%) do not have special plans, but another 20% aren't sure.

Forty percent (40%) say they have a relative or close friend who gave their life while serving in the military.  Nearly three-out-of-four Americans (74%) have a favorable opinion of the U.S. military

Men tend to view Memorial Day as more important than women do. Older Americans consider the holiday much more important than younger adults. 

The surveys of 1,000 U.S. Adults was conducted on May 23-24 and May 25-26, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC . See methodology .

Memorial Day was first officially celebrated on May 30, 1868 to honor those who died in the Civil War. Due to the divisions that remained in the nation at that time, Southern States did not celebrate the holiday until after World War I. Following that "war to end all wars", the observance was changed to recognize soldiers who had given their life in any war.
In 1971, Congress established the last Monday in May as Memorial Day to ensure a three-day weekend. This may have played a role in changing the focus of the holiday from honoring fallen servicemen and women to becoming the "unofficial beginning of summer."

Sixty-six percent (66%) of adults, in fact, consider Memorial Day the unofficial start of the summer season.   Just 35% of Americans plan to take a summer vacation this year, however, and most of those vacationers don't plan to spend as much as they have in years past.  

In honor of tomorrow's holiday, 23% will attend a memorial service. Twenty-seven percent (27%) will watch or participate in a parade. The majority (53%) of Americans also plan to have a cookout with their families. 

Men are slightly more likely than women to attend a memorial service. Married adults and adults with children in the home are more likely to hold a cookout than those who are not married or don't have children living with them.

For most Americans, Christmas and Independence Day top the list of the nation's most important holidays. Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day have been at the bottom of the list for several years now.