By 2-to-1 Margin, Americans Prefer 'Merry Christmas' Over 'Happy Holidays'

By Pete Winn | December 22, 2011 | 4:17 PM EST

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( - Americans overwhelmingly prefer the traditional “Merry Christmas” greeting over the “Happy Holidays” that some stores and businesses require their employees to utilize at this time of year.


A new Marist Poll of 1,026 adults nationwide finds that 64 percent – nearly two-thirds – think the appropriate greeting should be “Merry Christmas,” while 31 percent favored “Happy Holidays.”

The sentiment was strongest in the Midwest (70 percent) -- but income level made no difference -- with the same level of support (64 percent) for those who made under $50,000 as those who made over $50,000 a year.

People 45 or older were much more likely (72 percent) to support “Merry Christmas,” but the gap narrows to just two percentage points (49 percent to 47 percent) among those under age 45.

"That we prefer ‘Merry Christmas’ by such a wide margin, is indicative of of the importance of Christmas has in the lives of the great majority of Americans,” said Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.

The Marist Poll was conducted Nov. 8-10 by the Marist Institute of Public Opinion for the Knights of Columbus, and has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

The Marist findings are consistent with the findings of pollster George Gallup on this issue. The last time the Gallup Organization surveyed Americans on the use of "Merry Christmas" was back in 2005.

At that time, 62 percent of Americans supported "Merry Christmas" -- and said that the use of "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" was “a change for the worse.” Only 24 percent considered it a change for the better.

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