It's Time For A Four-Day Work Week

By Brandon Williams (@bmwilly) and Colin Bowers (@colinsonofroy)

Working too much is literally killing us. Every year people are pushed to work more hours and more days. This takes a considerable toll on everyone’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Plus, working more is probably not even making us more productive. Several studies have shown already shown that employees working a four day workweek are actually more productive. But does such a policy have support?

To answer this question, we fielded a survey of 1,282 nationally representative voters from January 25 to 29, 2019 with YouGov Blue asking if people would support a four day work week. Seven percent of respondents said they were not sure, those respondents were excluded from this analysis.

A plurality of respondents support a four-day work week (41%). Unlike the gun law question, a four-day work week is a policy where the right is far more vocal than the left. If Democratic primary candidates (or the party in general) were to have a serious conversation about labor rights in the workplace, it is likely the issue would move further in the blue.

 
Support for the progressive position goes to the right of the y-axis, and support for the conservative position goes left. Percentage labels are the values for each blue and red area (thus, do not add up to 100%).

Support for the progressive position goes to the right of the y-axis, and support for the conservative position goes left. Percentage labels are the values for each blue and red area (thus, do not add up to 100%).

 

Unsurprisingly, this finding is not nearly as consistent across generations, but it does have plurality support across three of the four generational groups. This finding suggests that we’re not close to passing a four-day work week in the next few years, but political conditions on the ground could change over time. For that reason, it is important that Democratic candidates discuss this issue to lay that groundwork.

 
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A four day work week has strong, near majority support among African-Americans and to a lesser extent, Hispanics, and has a plurality of support among all racial groups polled. As noted elsewhere, these numbers would likely grow if and when Democratic candidates actually started discussing this issue specifically and labor rights more generally.

 
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Finally, we see that a four-day work week has true majority support among Democrats. Democratic politicians would be wise to include this issue in their platforms.

 
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Despite the lack of discussion and support from leading national Democrats, “controversial” policies, including a four-day work week, have strong support with the potential to go much higher. This flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that progressive candidates running on progressivism will doom us all.


Brandon Williams (@bmwilly) is a data scientist and patzer living in Berlin.

Colin Bowers (@colinsonofroy) is a data scientist and engineer with an interest in advancing progressive causes, especially those related to the environment, international affairs, and social justice.

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