Is it still okay to say "Merry Christmas" or should we all just say "Happy Holidays" and leave it at that?

Flickr user: ShedBOy^

A new national poll released today by Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind asked Americans about the so-called "War of Christmas." The survey found that the majority of people would rather hear "Merry Christmas."

"Two-thirds of Americans today say that they prefer people to say 'Merry Christmas' and only 18 percent want 'Happy Holidays,'" said Dan Cassino, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson and an analyst for the poll. "Close to nine out of ten Americans also think that towns and cities should be able to put up manger scenes even if it winds up offending some people."

Support for "Happy Holidays" is strongest with younger Americans. Thirty percent under the age of 30 say that they'd rather hear the more neutral greeting compared with only about 15 percent of Americans in older age categories.

"Only 26 percent of Americans say that schools should have non-religious events rather than Christmas-themed pageants and displays," said Cassino. "Eighty-nine percent of Americans agree that in America today the holiday season is more about presents and consumerism than religious beliefs."

Is the "War on Christmas" real? Respondents in the poll were asked if they agreed or disagreed with the statement "there has been a concerted effort by politicians to take 'Christ' out of Christmas." Twenty-eight percent of Americans agreed, with most of those, 21 percent, agreeing with the statement strongly.

The poll of 1,002 Americans aged 18 and older was conducted by telephone with both landline and cell phones from December 9 through December 15, 2013, and has a margin of error of +/3.1 percentage points.