A new poll asking whether Americans feel businesses should wish patrons “Merry Christmas” or rather should say “Happy Holidays” found a major divide between Republicans and Democrats.
The poll by PRRI Research asked if they think store employees should “greet customers with Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings instead of Merry Christmas out of respect for people of different faiths.”
While finding that attitudes haven’t changed much over the last six years the question has been asked, the results did show a wide gap between Republicans and Democrats.
Democrats were more than twice as likely to advise store employees to say “Happy Holidays” in order not to insult customers who may not celebrate Christmas (66% for Democrats, 28% for Republicans), while 67% of Republicans said store employees should say “Merry Christmas.” Meanwhile, those who claimed they were political independents were about evenly split on the issue, with 44% saying “Happy Holidays” and 48% saying employees should wish customers a “Merry Christmas.”
There was a gap between age groups, as well, showing that the war against Christmas is taking hold among younger Americans. Fully 67% of people under 29 years of age said store workers should say “Happy Holidays.” Meanwhile, only 38% of people 65 and older said “Happy Holidays” was the right way to go. Fifty-four percent of senior said “Merry Christmas” was the better phrase.
The poll also found that 89% of Americans say they do celebrate Christmas. Other holidays measured in at far smaller numbers, with Advent getting four percent support, Hanukkah and the winter solstice three percent each, and a tiny one percent said they will celebrate Kwanzaa — the ersatz African holiday manufactured in 1965 by an American black power activist. Another four percent said they weren’t celebrating any holiday at all in December.
There was also a split among respondents as to whether or not Christmas should be considered a religious holiday.
Forty-three percent of respondents said they consider Christmas to be a religious holiday. Twenty-nine percent said it was a somewhat religious experience for them, and 27% said that the holiday isn’t very religious at all.
The age gap was also seen on the religious aspect of the holiday. Only 30% of younger people treat Christmas as a religious experience, instead calling it a “cultural holiday.” On the other hand, 52% of seniors say Christmas is a religious holiday. In addition, 36% of young people say Christmas is not a religious holiday to them, while only 17% of seniors agree with that.
Finally, the poll also surveyed people on whether or not they talk politics or intend to talk politics during family get-togethers this holiday. Forty-three perccent said they frequently talk politics at family gatherings, 30% said they sometimes do, and 17% said rarely.
The poll also found that Democrats were far more likely than Republicans to block people with opposing views on social media. Twenty-four percent of Democrats said they block people they disagree with, while only 9% of Republicans say they have blocked people over politics. And Democrat women were many times more apt to block people over politics than Republican women (30% to 10% respectively).
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.