You’re going to hear a lot of complaints about the switch to Daylight Saving Time, which begins on Sunday. (I hate it too because I enjoy sleep.) It’s become so bad that, as my colleague Z. Byron Wolf has written, the state of Florida wants to eliminate the time switch all together.
There’s just one problem for us whiners: there’s no sign that the majority of people share our opinion.
The majority of people, 55%, actually aren’t disrupted at all by DST. That was the finding of a Princeton Survey Research Associates International survey in 2017. Now, a healthy minority, 41%, said that they were at least a little disrupted by DST, but among all Americans only 13% said it was a major disruption.
Indeed, the limited high quality public polling data finds that there’s not some great crusade for Americans to switch away from having DST and standard time. Three years ago, a CBS News survey found that a majority of Americans 54% were either okay with the current situation or had no opinion on the subject. Even among those who wanted a change, they were split evenly between those who wanted DST all year or not at all.
You might remember that DST was extended in 2007. Americans seem to be okay with that switch. In 2010, CBS News found that the majority, 54%, thought that the extension of DST – originally enacted in order to reduce electricity usage by extending daylight hours – that occurred back in 2007 was a good idea. Yet at the same time, a separate CBS News poll that year discovered that 58% of Americans didn’t want to extend DST year-round. This was a viewpoint held across ages, regions and party affiliations.
In fact, people have never been against DST. Gallup first asked about DST back in 1937. Back then, 51% were in favor of it to only 37% who were opposed. In every high quality survey I could find since then, more people than not were in favor of springing ahead when asked directly if they favored or opposed DST.
But even more than 75 years ago, Americans didn’t want to make DST permanent. In a 1940 Gallup poll, 52% of Americans favored DST, but among that 52% only 35% wanted it year round.
I guess we have more in common with our parents and grandparents than we think.