Donald Trump Has Not Convinced America There's A War On Christmas

(But if there were, Christmas would be winning.)
maurusone via Getty Images

Some holiday crazes ― fruit cakes, Tickle Me Elmo, that outfit from last year’s ugly sweater party ― are better off relegated to the eggnog-induced haze of the past. Despite President Donald Trump’s best efforts this year, that list seems to include the “War on Christmas.”

Long before Christmas music hit the airwaves and Starbucks rolled out its red cups, Trump got a jump-start on the battle, pledging during a July speech that “we’re going to start staying ‘Merry Christmas’ again.”

It’s a theme that he’s revisited since.

“We are getting near the beautiful Christmas season that people don’t talk about anymore,” Trump said during a mid-October address to the Values Voter Summit. “They don’t use the word ‘Christmas.’”

President Donald Trump onstage at a rally in Pensacola, Florida on Dec. 8.
President Donald Trump onstage at a rally in Pensacola, Florida on Dec. 8.
Joe Raedle via Getty Images

As recently as 2013, a slim majority of Americans indeed thought that the holiday was under attack, according to a YouGov poll. But now, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov survey asking the same question, just 34 percent think there’s any sort of war against Christmas ― making the concept less popular than Trump himself, and giving it only slightly more backing than the GOP’s new tax bill.

(For the sake of complete data, we asked those who still thought there was a war whether Christmas was winning or losing. They said by a 15-point margin, 44 percent to 29 percent, that it was ahead.)

It’s hard to have a war over something nobody cares enough to fight over. The vast majority of Americans are pretty much fine with whatever version of seasonal greetings you’d like to offer.

Most people do have a preference ― 55 percent say they’d rather be wished a merry Christmas, and 11 percent prefer “happy holidays,” with the remainder unsure or having no preference. But only 11 percent of Americans say they’d be offended to hear a different greeting.

While 29 percent of those who say “merry Christmas” think the phrase would offend people who prefer “happy holidays,” just 11 percent of those who say “happy holidays” say they actually would be offended. Only 19 percent of “merry Christmas” partisans would be offended to hear “happy holidays,” similar to the 22 percent of “happy holidays” wishers who anticipate that the phrase would cause offense.

Even Trump’s base isn’t really biting. While 71 percent believe there’s a war on Christmas and 85 percent prefer to be wished a “merry Christmas,” fewer than a quarter say they’d be offended by a different greeting.

Use the widget below to further explore the results of the HuffPost/YouGov survey, using the menu at the top to select survey questions and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups:

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Dec. 4-6 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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