Penny For Your Thoughts? Americans Oppose Abolishing the Penny

U.S. adults also want to see the Dollar stay just the way it is – paper

08:00 AM EDT Sep 22, 2015 Rating
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Penny For Your Thoughts? Americans Oppose Abolishing the Penny

NEW YORK, N.Y. – With the multitude of Presidential contenders working hard to keep the economy top of mind, it makes sense to look at ways to save money on a national level. Take, for example, the penny. It’s long been suggested in some circles that we abolish it and default to the nickel as our lowest denomination coin for a variety of reasons, ranging from the unused pile of them collecting in your car’s cup holder to the fact that at last report, they cost nearly twice as much to make as they’re worth.

But while opposition to abolishing the penny is softening (51%, down from 56% in 2008) and support for the idea is on the rise (29%, up from 24%), the “nay’s” appear to have it for the time being.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,273 U.S. adults surveyed online between July 15 and 20, 2015.

While majorities oppose dropping the penny from circulation, some groups are more likely than others to support the idea:

Dollar dollar… bills?

There have also been several attempts to replace the $1 bill with a coin, but eight in ten Americans (80%, up from 76%) prefer it in paper form.  As with the penny proposal, the idea of a dollar coin sits better with some groups than with others:

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TABLE 1a

FAVOR/OPPOSE ABOLISHING THE PENNY - Trend

“Would you favor or oppose abolishing the penny so that the nickel would be the lowest denomination coin?”

Base: All Adults

 

2004

2008

2015

%

%

%

Favor

23

24

29

Oppose

59

56

51

Not sure

18

20

20

Note:  Totals may not add to 100% because of rounding

 

TABLE 1b

FAVOR/OPPOSE ABOLISHING THE PENNY

By Income, Gender & Generation

“Would you favor or oppose abolishing the penny so that the nickel would be the lowest denomination coin?”

Base: All Adults

 

Total

Annual Household Income

Gender

Generation

<$35k

$35k-<$50k

$50k-<$75k

$75k-<$100k

$100k+

Men

Women

Millennials (18-35)

Gen X (36-50)

Baby Boomers (51-69)

Matures (70+)

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Favor

29

19

22

28

35

44

39

20

28

28

29

34

Oppose

51

61

53

54

46

38

44

57

50

49

54

50

Not sure

20

20

25

18

19

18

17

22

22

23

18

16

Note:  Totals may not add to 100% because of rounding

 

TABLE 1c

FAVOR/OPPOSE ABOLISHING THE PENNY

By Region, Metro Status & Political Philosophy

“Would you favor or oppose abolishing the penny so that the nickel would be the lowest denomination coin?”

Base: All Adults

 

Total

Region

Metro Status

Political Philosophy

East

Midwest

South

West

Urban

Suburban

Rural

Conservative

Moderate

Liberal

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Favor

29

34

27

23

34

29

30

27

23

30

34

Oppose

51

47

53

55

48

52

50

52

58

49

47

Not sure

20

19

20

22

18

19

20

22

19

21

19

Note:  Totals may not add to 100% because of rounding

 

TABLE 2a

$1 PREFERENCE: COIN VS. BILL – Trend

“Thinking about the one dollar denomination, which would you prefer?”

Base: All Adults

 

2008

2015

%

%

Coin

13

13

Paper

76

80

Not sure

11

7

Note:  Totals may not add to 100% because of rounding

 

TABLE 2b

$1 PREFERENCE: COIN VS. BILL

By Income, Gender & Generation

“Thinking about the one dollar denomination, which would you prefer?”

Base: All Adults

 

Total

Annual Household Income

Gender

Generation

<$35k

$35k-<$50k

$50k-<$75k

$75k-<$100k

$100k+

Men

Women

Millennials (18-35)

Gen X (36-50)

Baby Boomers (51-69)

Matures (70+)

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Coin

13

10

11

9

11

22

19

7

17

13

11

8

Paper

80

81

81

84

82

72

74

85

76

76

84

89

Not sure

7

9

9

8

7

5

6

8

7

11

6

3

Note:  Totals may not add to 100% because of rounding

 

TABLE 2c

$1 PREFERENCE: COIN VS. BILL

By Region, Metro Status & Political Philosophy

 “Thinking about the one dollar denomination, which would you prefer?”

Base: All Adults

 

Total

Region

Metro Status

Political Philosophy

East

Midwest

South

West

Urban

Suburban

Rural

Conservative

Moderate

Liberal

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Coin

13

11

12

10

18

17

12

11

14

12

12

Paper

80

80

80

84

74

78

79

84

80

79

82

Not sure

7

8

8

6

8

5

9

5

6

8

6

Note:  Totals may not add to 100% because of rounding

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between July 15 and 20, 2015 among 2,273 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. 

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

The Harris Poll® #56, September 22, 2015

By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll

 

About The Harris Poll®

Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. 

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