12/14/2011 4:16 PM
By Phil Rabin
WTOP Radio 103.5 FM has announced the results of its most recent WTOP Beltway Opinion Poll surveying the strength of the holiday spirit among residents in the D.C. metropolitan area. The poll examined a number of holiday-related topics, including the average amount of consumer spending on gifts during the holiday season, consumers planning to shop online to avoid area crowds, efforts to “buy local” this holiday season, and the impact of the struggling economy on area businesses and holiday office party plans.
The WTOP Beltway Opinion Poll on holiday spirit in the Washington Metropolitan area, conducted by Heart and Mind Strategies, includes the following findings:
• 89% of area residents will celebrate Christmas, 8% Hanukah, and 3% Kwanzaa;
• 74% will display a Christmas tree (28% real and 42% artificial);
• Across the DC metro area, the average spending amount on gifts will be $926. (VA residents will spend $1,005, MD $959, and DC residents $529) - 12% say that is more, 34% say less, 53% say this is the same as last year;
• DC metro residents say they will complete an average of 35% of their shopping online; the highest being in VA (40%), then MD (30%), then DC (24%);
• Fully 75% will buy "local" this holiday season;
• 47% agree that they are doing more online holiday shopping to avoid DC area traffic, congestion and crowds - in VA that number is 53%, 44% in MD, and 35% among DC residents;
• 72% say they WILL NOT visit the national Christmas tree;
• Many businesses in the DC area have scaled back their holiday office plans, but 64% say plans have remained the same. 28% of DC metro residents say their place of work cancelled (7%), postponed (1%), or scaled back (20%);
• Of those with kids under 9 years of age, 80% say their kids believe in Santa; and,
• Of those with kids 9-12 years of age, 41% believe in Santa.
“The latest WTOP Beltway Opinion Poll reveals some interesting insights into the triumph of the overall spirit of the holidays among residents of the DC area amid the realities of a very challenging economy,” said WTOP Vice President of News and Programming Jim Farley. “WTOP will take a closer look at the wide range of findings and issues addressed in the coming days on the air and online at WTOP.com.”
WTOP will examine the poll findings more closely on WTOP and WTOP.com. The WTOP Beltway Poll was conducted by phone among 643 adults 18 and older in the WTOP listening area from December 5 - 8, 2011. The comprehensive findings of the WTOP Beltway Poll, conducted by Heart and Mind Strategies, can be found at www.WTOP.com. The margin of error for a sample this size is +/- 3.86 at 95% confidence.