The American public overwhelmingly supports the penny, according to a recent poll by Americans for Common Cents (ACC). More than two-thirds (67%) of those surveyed favored keeping the penny in circulation.
“These results confirm the strong and unwavering support the penny continues to receive from America,” said Mark Weller, executive director of ACC. Weller’s group includes more than 50 organizations that support continued production of the penny. “Americans understand that eliminating the penny would lead to a rounding process and cost them hundreds of millions of dollars in higher prices.”
Canada recently announced it would eliminate the penny from the coinage system. According to Weller, Canada’s decision to remove its lowest denomination coin will have little impact on the U.S. penny. Congress has already asked the U.S. Mint to make recommendations on how to produce coins less expensively. Congress and the Administration will likely wait for the Mint recommendations, especially in an election year when the public is sensitive to price issues.
“Suggesting that eliminating the penny saves money is wrong,” Weller said. The Mint has stated publicly that it takes almost a dime – 11 cents – to make every nickel. “From a budget standpoint, it’s hard to see how you save money by eliminating the penny and making more costly nickels.”
More than three-quarters of those surveyed (77%) are opposed to rounding cash transactions, fearing merchants will raise prices rather than lose pennies and round down. “The alternative to the penny is rounding – something that Americans abhor,” Weller said.
The poll results showed that:
- Over two-thirds of adults (67%) favor keeping the penny in circulation;
- 77% were concerned that if the government implements a rounding system for cash purchases, businesses might raise prices;
- 66% of Americans oppose eliminating the penny and establishing a price rounding system.
Americans for Common Cents is a coalition of business and charitable organizations dedicated to keeping the penny. It was formed in 1990 in response to Congressional threats to eliminate the coin (www.pennies.org). Opinion Research Corp. International of Princeton, N.J., conducted a phone survey of 1,019 adults (506 men and 513 women) nationwide from March 22 to 25.