Rasmussen Reports released a poll
today on Americans' attitudes towards holiday greetings in stores. Poll respondents were asked to choose between the traditional "Merry Christmas" greeting and the more modern "Happy Holidays." Sixty-seven percent of respondents preferred to be wished a "Merry Christmas," versus 26% who preferred "Happy Holidays," nearly a three to one margin.
Americans of almost every subset in the poll preferred the traditional Christmas greeting by large margins and with very little variation. Men favored it 69-24%, women 65-27%. Married people favored it 69-24%, unmarried 64-29%. All age groups gave "Merry Christmas" over 60% support and all but the lowest income group did as well; with the three middle income groups giving it over 70%.
The only groups within which significant variation was seen were political identity and race. Republicans favored "Merry Christmas" by 88-10% while their Democratic counterparts favored it less enthusiastically, 57-36%. Third party supporters tracked with Democrats, giving the greeting 57-31% support. Whites were more likely to prefer the greeting than blacks by 72-50%.
The poll also asked respondents whether they planned to attend a Christian church service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Overall, 57% of respondents did with senior citizens (66%), women (65%), blacks (63%), and married people (61%), planning to attend church in the highest percentages. Men were the only subset not planning to attend church services in the majority. Still, 49% of men did say that they would attend.
The results will most certainly be trumpeted by various "take back the holidays" movements that seek to buck recent politically correct trends. Several of these groups sell buttons for shoppers to wear with phrases like "It's okay to wish me a Merry Christmas." and "Just Say Merry Christmas!" printed on them.
However, last Christmas season parent companies representing twelve of the nation's top 20 retailers responded
to requests for clarification on their official policies regarding seasonal greetings that employees are allowed or encouraged to use in their stores. Most said that "Merry Christmas" was allowed and in some cases encouraged to be used as a seasonal greeting. At the same time most of the retailers sought to point out that they respected the broad diversity of their customer base and welcomed shoppers of all faiths and traditions. These results, while unscientific, tend to belie the belief that there is an organized effort to remove traditional expressions of Christmas from the shopping season.