More Americans would rather wish you Merry Christmas than Happy Holidays — especially Republicans and people over 45, according to a new poll released today. And most Americans aren’t buying the claim by many conservative commentators that liberal politicians are waging a “War on Christmas,” the Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll concludes. And the annual winter jousting — which has featured some Jersey billboard battles — shows Americans have different views based on their political leanings, which cable network they watch, and their age. “For some people, ‘Happy Holidays’ versus ‘Merry Christmas’ is an important symbolic issue,” said Dan Cassino, a professor of political science at Farleigh Dickinson and an analyst for the poll. “But as with a lot of cultural issues, it just doesn’t seem to have relevance for younger Americans.” On the Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays debate, the poll found:
• 67 percent of U.S. residents prefer to say Merry Christmas, while 18 percent pick Happy Holidays. Fifteen percent say they’re indifferent or would rather people not say anything.
• 82 percent of Republicans prefer saying Merry Christmas, compared to 55 percent of Democrats.
• 30 percent of Americans under 30 say they’d rather hear a more neutral greeting, compared to 15 percent in older age categories. Seventy-one percent of people over 45 prefer Merry Christmas.
The poll found most Americans don’t agree with the contention that liberal politicians are waging a “War on Christmas.” Only 28 percent said there has been a concerted effort by officials and lawmakers to take Jesus Christ out of the holiday. The results also reveal Fox News viewers are more worried about keeping religion in the holidays, while more MSNBC and “Daily Show” watchers tend to favor religious-neutral celebrations. Meanwhile, 40 percent of Republicans agree that politicians are trying to remove “Christ” from Christmas, while just 16 percent of Democrats do. The poll also shows 27 percent of African-Americans and 11 percent of Hispanics agree that the “War on Christmas” is real.”In terms of politics, people tend to think of African-Americans as just being strong Democrats,” Cassino said. “But that misses a lot of the differences between whites and African-Americans, especially on issues tinged with religion.” The reaction to holiday events at schools also showed age and political party makes a differnce. Over all only 26 percent of Americans say schools should have non-religious holiday events rather than Christmas pageants and displays. About 36 percent of Democrats were OK with non-religious holiday events at schools, but only 16 percent of Republicans. It was favored by 41 percent of those under 30, but only 21 percent of Fox News viewers. “The biggest differences aren’t between Fox News and MSNBC,” Cassino said. “They’re between Fox News and ‘The Daily Show.’ Given that these sources tend to be strongly tied to age, it’s not clear if we’re seeing the effect of the media or just the effects of age.”
The poll also found two in three Americans strongly agree towns should be able to put up manger scenes even if it offends some residents. Only 2 percent of Republicans disagree, compared to 23 percent of Democrats. New Jersey has seen its own “War on Christmas” battles. In 2010, the Catholic League of New York and American Atheists bought dueling billboards outside the Lincoln Tunnel arguing the origin of Christmas. In 2011, an athiest group complained that a “Keep Christ in Christmas” banner hung by the Knights of Columbus in Pitman was unconstitutional.This year, the Freedom of Religion Foundation put up a billboard saying “Keep Saturn in Saturnalia” in Pitman to counter the Knights of Columbus sign. Police saw two men trying to burn it down. Meanwhile, Assemblyman Ronald Dancer (R-Ocean) introduced a bill that would allow schools to put up religious holiday displays, educate students about holidays and sing holiday songs as long as more than one religion is represented. And although Robbinsville advertised that the township would hold a secular “tree lighting ceremony,” Mayor David Fried later said it would be a “Christmas celebration.”
When it comes to Christmas, Americans do largely agree on one thing: Eighty-nine percent say Christmas is the U.S. today is more about presents and consumerism than religion. Only 8 percent disagree.The poll was conducted over the phone with 1,002 U.S. residents aged 18 and older from Dec. 9-15. The margin of error was 3.1 percentage points
Source : nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/12/merry_christmas_or_happy_holidays_poll_shows_americans_prefer_the_latter.html