Americans Support Dollar Coins Featuring Past Presidents

by Joseph Carroll

Only about one in three Americans plan to collect these new coins

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- A recent USA Today/Gallup poll finds more than half of Americans saying it is a good idea for the government to introduce new dollar coins next year featuring former U.S. presidents. But, only about one in three Americans say they are likely to collect these new coins. Although these new presidential coins are not intended to replace the dollar bill, there has been discussion about replacing the dollar bill with dollar coins in the past. The latest poll finds little public support for replacing all dollar bills with dollar coins. Americans are slightly more likely to support replacing dollar bills with dollar coins if it would save the government $500 million per year, but still only about one in four Americans would endorse it then.

New Dollar Coins Begin Circulation Next Year

In 2007, the U.S. Mint will begin circulating a series of dollar coins that feature former U.S. presidents in the order in which they served as president. Each year, the government will release four new sets of coins featuring former presidents. The poll, conducted Oct. 20-22, 2006, finds that a majority of Americans, 54%, tell Gallup they think this is a good idea, while 37% say it is a bad idea.

Even though Americans are generally receptive to circulating these new coins, few report that they plan to collect these coins. Thirty-four percent of Americans say they are "very" (17%) or "somewhat" (17%) likely to collect these coins, while nearly two in three Americans say they are "not too" likely (26%) or "not at all" likely (39%) to collect them.

There are only minor variations among different groups of Americans in their intentions to collect these new dollar coins. Women are slightly more likely than men to say they are very or somewhat likely to collect these coins, at 38% and 31% respectively. There are also slight variations by political ideology, with self-identified conservatives (39%) and moderates (36%) more likely than liberals (24%) to say they are likely to collect these coins.

Replacing the Dollar Bill?

The poll also asked Americans two questions in a split sample about their support for replacing the dollar bill with the dollar coin, an idea that has not been proposed recently but has been discussed at previous points in the past.

Gallup asked half of the survey respondents if they generally support the idea of replacing all dollar bills with dollar coins. Only 17% of Americans support this notion; the vast majority, 79%, opposes it.

Gallup asked the other half of respondents if they would support or oppose replacing all dollar bills with dollar coins if it would save the U.S. government $500 million per year. Public support is slightly higher, with 26% of Americans saying they would support replacing the dollar bill in this situation, but most Americans, 69%, still oppose the idea.

Certain groups of Americans are more inclined than others to support replacing the dollar bill with dollar coins if it would save the government $500 million a year -- men more so than women (33% to 20%), Americans under age 50 more so than those who are older (31% to 20%), and those residing in households earning $50,000 or more per year more so than those in households earning less (33% to 21%). There are essentially no demographic differences in response to the general idea of replacing dollar bills with dollar coins.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,002 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Oct. 20-22, 2006. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

For results based on the 476 national adults in the Form A half-sample and 526 national adults in the Form B half-sample, the maximum margins of sampling error are ±5 percentage points.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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