The Case Against Year-Round Daylight Saving Time: We Tried It Before

Aaron Blake, reporting for The Washington Post last week:

The year was 1973, and the United States was experiencing an energy crisis. Among the proposals put forward by President Richard M. Nixon in a November address was making daylight saving time permanent for the next two winters. Despite scant evidence of daylight saving time’s past benefit on the energy supply (dating back to DST’s various introductions since World War I), Americans really liked the idea. Polling in November and December 1973 showed strong and in some cases overwhelming support — 57 percent in a Gallup poll, 74 percent in a Louis Harris and Associates poll, and 73 percent in a poll from the Roper Organization.

The policy was quickly implemented in early January 1974. But it just as quickly fell out of favor.

In a Roper poll conducted in February and March, just 30 percent remained in favor of year-round daylight saving time, while a majority favored switching times again. Louis Harris polling in March showed just 19 percent of people said it had been a good idea, while about twice as many — 43 percent — said it was a bad one.

What happened to change people’s minds? Dark mornings were unpopular. I’m still in favor of trying year-round DST, but it only seems fair to link to the other side of the argument, and it’s pretty interesting that public opinion changed so dramatically when we tried it a generation ago.

See also: Josh Barro, writing at Business Insider: “Daylight-Saving Time Is Good, So Stop Complaining”.

Tuesday, 23 March 2021