Merry Christmas Poll

December 20, 2005 16:58

(CNN) — In the cultural battle over whether to use the seasonal greeting “Happy holidays” or “Merry Christmas,” the latter appears to be winning, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll released Tuesday.

In the poll, which surveyed 1,003 adult Americans by phone, 69 percent said they prefer “Merry Christmas” over “Happy holidays,” which garnered 29 percent.

Compared with the 2004 Christmas — or holiday — season, the number of people who said they use “Happy holidays” has dropped 12 percentage points, from 41 percent to 29 percent.

That’s bound to be good news for some Christian conservatives who’ve been pushing for advertisers and stores to wish patrons “Merry Christmas” rather than the more secular and inclusive “Happy holidays.”

Those who prefer “bah humbug” were not included in the survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Much of the greeting debate has been driven by how people prefer to be greeted by clerks at stores and public institutions. In the poll, 61 percent of respondents said more stores and institutions using “Happy holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” is a change for the worse.

Last year, 43 percent said the use of “Happy holidays” was a change for the worse.

On the political front, although the campaign for “Merry Christmas” appears to be waged largely by conservative Americans, many Democrats and liberals appear to be affected by it, according to the poll.

A majority of liberals and a majority of Democrats said they preferred “Happy holidays” last year. But this year, a majority of liberals and a majority of Democrats said their preference was “Merry Christmas.” Those findings have a margin of error of plus or minus 7 percentage points.
The poll was conducted Friday through Monday.

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