Poll: Americans Want to Keep Dollar Bill

By WILL LESTER
The Associated Press
Sunday, February 11, 2007; 7:09 PM

WASHINGTON -- Maybe Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea should not take public rejection personally. It's not easy overcoming people's indifference to dollar coins, even those honoring such historic figures.

An AP-Ipsos poll found that three-fourths of people surveyed oppose replacing the dollar bill, featuring George Washington, with a dollar coin. People are split evenly on the idea of having both a dollar bill and a dollar coin.

A new version of the coin, paying tribute to American presidents, goes into general circulation Thursday. Even though doing away with the bill could save hundreds of millions of dollars each year in printing costs, there is no plan to scrap the bill in favor of the more durable coin.

"I really don't see any use for it," Larry Ashbaugh, a retiree from Bristolville, Ohio, said of the dollar coin. "We tried it before. It didn't fly."

Two recent efforts to promote wide usage of a dollar coin proved unsuccessful. A quarter-century ago, it showed feminist Susan B. Anthony on the front; then one in 2000 featuring Sacagawea, the Shoshone Indian who helped guide the Lewis and Clark expedition.

The latest dollar coin will bear Washington's image, followed later this year by those of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. A different president will appear on the golden dollar coins every three months.

The series of coins will depict four different presidents per year, in the order they served.

Congress voted to create the new dollar coin, betting that this series would be more popular than its recent predecessors.

The Susan B. Anthony dollar put the image of the women's rights activist on a small silver coin that looked a lot like a quarter. The U.S Mint was left with millions of unused coins.

As for the Sacagawea dollar, gold in color, millions of the coins also piled up in bank vaults for the same reason: lack of demand.

People say they just prefer the traditional greenback.

"The dollar bill is lighter, takes up less space in a clutch or a man's wallet and paper money counts easier and stacks up easier than metallic coins," said Nena Wise of York, Pa.


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© 2007 The Associated Press