SAINT LEO, FL – Do you run screaming into the street when you hear the first note of Alvin and the Chipmunks’ Christmas Don’t Be Late? Does the sound of dogs barking Jingle Bells give you a nervous twitch?

Rest assured that most folks select an old classic—a very old classic dating back to 1818—when naming their favorite Christmas song.

A new survey released by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( shows Silent Night comes in first among 47 choices for the top Christmas song pick. The online poll surveyed 1,001 adults in the United States from November 27 through November 30, 2016, as many radio stations began playing holiday tunes.

The majority of poll respondents, 90.1 percent, said they do celebrate Christmas. Those people were asked to name their favorite Christmas carols. Multiple responses were accepted.

Three religious songs, focusing on the birth of Christ, and five secular songs make up the Top 8 in Saint Leo’s poll. Silent Night earned the top spot with 50.4 percent listing it as a favorite. Next, is the classic White Christmas. The song written by Irving Berlin garnered 48 percent. Coming in third was Jingle Bells with 44.4 percent.

Rounding out the top spots are O, Come, All Ye Faithful; Joy to the World; I’ll Be Home for Christmas; Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas; and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Saint Leo’s poll of 501 adults in Florida, shows even those in the sunny south are pining for the frozen stuff with White Christmas coming in third with 48.4 percent while Jingle Bells was No. 1 with 49.7 percent. Silent Night came in a close second with 49 percent.

When Dr. Cynthia Selph was involved in planning music for contemporary services, she said congregations longed for traditional music at Christmastime, even though they preferred contemporary music and, “complained loudly if the worship songs became too outdated in the other 11 months of the year.

“People requested the familiar carols that they loved to sing for the entire month of December,” said Selph, an assistant professor of music and music ministry at Saint Leo University.

Looking at the results of Saint Leo’s poll, the top five songs on the list remind people of the traditional Biblical Christmas story, or of wintery scenes that are often depicted on Christmas cards, Selph said.

“We long for the cozy idea of Christmas with a manger scene, family and friends around a fire, and picturesque winter snowscapes no matter where we live,” she said. “Maybe it represents a universal human longing for warmth, hope, and love in the depths of the dark days of winter time.”

Whatever your favorite Christmas carol is, the Saint Leo list will get you humming.

View complete list here.

Media contacts: Jo-Ann Johnston, Saint Leo University, University Communications or (352) 588-8237 or (352) 467-0843 (cell/text). Mary McCoy, Saint Leo University, University Communications or (352) 588-7118 or (813) 610-8416 (cell/text).

More About Our Research

METHODOLOGY: All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The national poll of 1,001 adults was conducted from November 27 through November 30, 2016, and has a plus or minus 3.0 percent margin of error. A sample of 501 adults in Florida were also surveyed from November 27 through November 30, 2016. The findings from the Florida survey have a plus or minus 4.5 percent margin of error.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. The sample is drawn from large online panels, which allow for random selections that reflect accurate cross sections of all demographic groups. Online methodology has the additional advantage of allowing participants to respond to the survey at a time, place, and speed that is convenient to them, which may result in more thoughtful answers. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute develops the questionnaires, administers the surveys, and conducts analysis of the results. Panel participants typically receive a token incentive—usually $1 deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account—for their participation.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about national and Florida politics, public policy issues, Pope Francis’ popularity, and other topics, can be found here: You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University ( is a modern Catholic teaching university that is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and the timeless Benedictine wisdom that seeks balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. The Saint Leo University of today is a private, nonprofit institution that creates hospitable learning communities wherever our students want to be or need to be, whether that is a campus classroom, a web-based environment, an employer’s worksite, a military base, or an office park. We welcome people of all faiths and of no religious affiliation, and encourage learners of all generations. We are committed to providing educational opportunities to our nation’s armed forces, our veterans, and their families. We are regionally accredited to award degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate, and we guide all our students to develop their capacities for critical thinking, moral reflection, and lifelong learning and leadership.

We remain the faithful stewards of the beautiful lakeside University Campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, where our founding monks created the first Catholic college in the state in 1889. Serving nearly 15,000 students, we have expanded to downtown Tampa, to other sites in Florida and beyond, and maintain a physical presence in seven states. We provide highly respected online learning programs to students nationally and internationally. More than 82,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.