- Category: Penny News
Contact: Mark W. Weller
February 4, 2003 — American's support for the penny continues to rise according to a new poll released by Coinstar. "The results of Coinstar's 2003 national poll confirm Americans' strong affinity for the penny and their sense of thrift during uncertain economic times," said Mark W. Weller, Executive Director of Americans for Common Cents (ACC). ACC, which includes more than 50 groups that support continued production of the penny, has found that Americans turn to their jars of pennies when the economy falters. Coinstar, Inc. (www.coinstar.org) released the findings of its sixth national currency poll, an annual gauge of consumers' coin and currency habits, on January 29, 2003.
Significantly, Coinstar found that public support for the one-cent coin has grown in recent years, with 71% of Americans responding that Congress should keep the penny in circulation. When the same question was asked in 2001 a similarly impressive, yet slightly fewer, number of Americans (65%) were in support of keeping the penny in circulation.
"There is a direct link to the strength or weakness of the economy and the flow of coins into circulation from households. When the economy slows, Americans cash in their coins and make every penny count," said ACC's Weller.
Smaller budgets aren't the only explanation for consumers' strong tie to the penny. Weller cited a December 17, 2002 report issued by the General Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, which found that over 56% of Americans were opposed to rounding cash transactions. "The alternative to the penny is roundingï‚¾something that Americans abhor," Weller said. Research conducted by ACC suggests the public would be hit with a $600 million "rounding tax" if the penny was eliminated.
Weller said the GAO also found that 92% of Americans were satisfied with current coin denominations and coin designs. "People may view the penny only in terms of its exchange value, but Abraham Lincoln's image on the coin and cultural significance to our country are noteworthy," said Weller, who plans to honor Lincoln's 194th birthday February 12. "It's not just that the front of the penny has had Lincoln's image since 1909, it's what Lincoln did for our nation. He is what we think of as a president," Weller concluded.
Americans for Common Cents is a broad-based coalition of business and charitable organizations dedicated to keeping the penny. ACC was formed in 1990 in response to Congressional threats to eliminate the one-cent coin (www.pennies.org).