The attacks on Christmas continue as a new survey suggests nearly half of all Americans prefer the phrase "Happy Holidays" over "Merry Christmas."

The Public Religion Research Institute claims 49-percent of respondents prefer businesses use generic phrases such as "Seasons Greetings" not to offend people of other faiths.

That's up from 44-percent in 2007.

Bryan Fischer with the American Family Association disputes the poll, calling it another attempt to water down the holiday.

“There is a war on Christmas, and I really regard it as a war on Christ because the objection that people on the left have to the celebration of Christmas is found in the first six letters of that word,” Fischer tells KTRH News.

The PRRI's survey found the battle line is much more clear among age groups -- with nearly two-thirds of younger Americans preferring the generic greeting.

Fischer says other polls contradict that, and he has plenty of atheist friends who are not offended by "Merry Christmas."

“I wonder if its more that people imagine other people are offended by the term 'Merry Christmas' than finding that people are actually offended by it,” he says.  “And those that claim to be offended, I'm guessing its more of a pseudo outrage than the real thing.”

KTRH News spoke with a handful of Houstonians to find out what they think.

“When people tell me 'Merry Christmas,' it gives me a happier smile because I know they have a conviction and they stand firm in what they believe in,” said one man.

Not everyone agreed.

“I don't have a preference because I know not everybody celebrates Christmas,” one woman told us.  “My staff, I give a generic 'Happy Holidays' card, because I know they're not all Christians.”

Still, others say a majority of Americans are Christians, so “Merry Christmas” is appropriate even in a public setting.

“Its kind of ridiculous I think when people say you have to be respectful of others' beliefs,” said one man.  “If you don't celebrate it, just ignore it.”

Texas this year passed a law to make it okay to say "Merry Christmas" at public schools.  Now other states are considering similar legislation.