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National Poll On Holiday Sentiment Suggests Some Attitudinal Changes

WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ (CBS) -- A new national poll out of New Jersey suggests people approach the holiday season more joyful than stressed.

But attitudes are beginning to change.

Pollsters at Monmouth University asked a thousand adults from coast to coast how they felt about the Christmas season. Forty-three percent of those surveyed find the holidays more enjoyable, while 27 percent suggest it stresses them out more.

"Even though they have to go out and do shopping and they might not enjoy that, on the whole when you bring family together, these are the kind of things that people say are the important things about Christmas," poll director Patrick Murray told KYW Newsradio.

Yet when it comes to the spiritual side of the Christmas holiday, it appears sentiment is trending lower.

"Fifty-three percent go to church either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day," Murray said. "But that's down from a generation ago when 65 percent in a national poll said that they were going to church that Christmas."

That poll, by the Gallup Organization, was conducted in 1989.

The Monmouth study found if you've got kids or you're over 55, you're more likely to attend a Christmas service than childless couples under 55.

As far as being joyful, you're more likely to feel that way if you make more than a hundred grand a year. Fifty-two percent in that bracket say they feel better compared to 38 percent of those whose income is under 50 thousand dollars a year.

The survey of over one thousand adults from coast to coast was conducted last week and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.

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