Americans agree: It’s ‘Merry Christmas’
Posted Friday, December 08, 2006
Americans are ready to put “Merry Christmas” back into holiday shopping, a new poll shows. The majority of Americans surveyed — 95 percent — said they were not offended by a “Merry Christmas” greeting in stores, according to a poll by Zogby International.
However, 32 percent of respondents said they took offense at “Happy Holidays,” the religiously neutral alternative promoted over the last few years as inclusive and inoffensive.
The “war over Christmas” has been a battleground in the so-called culture wars in the United States, which has far higher church attendance rates than most other developed nations.
A good gauge of the national mood may be retail giant Wal-Mart, which this season reversed its policy of limiting the use of “Merry Christmas.”
“Last year’s decision by many retailers — including retail giant Wal-Mart — to curtail the use of “Merry Christmas” for fear of offending those who don’t celebrate the holiday caused a backlash from conservative Christian groups as well as consumers,” Zogby said in a statement.
Polls have shown that more than 80 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians.
Along partisan lines, 8 percent of the Democrats polled said they were offended at a “Merry Christmas” greeting compared to less than 1 percent of the Republicans surveyed. Conservative Christians are a key Republican base.
The Zogby Interactive poll surveyed 12,806 adults Nov. 21 to 29 and has a margin of error of 0.9 percentage points.
“Wal-Mart’s change of heart this season could help bring more people into their stores — 35 percent of respondents said hearing “Merry Christmas” makes them more likely to shop there this season,” Zogby added.