New Dollar Coin:

Public Prefers Statue of Liberty Over Sacagawea

GGD-99-24: Published: Jan 22, 1999. Publicly Released: Jan 22, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO conducted a public opinion survey regarding a design for the face of the new dollar coin authorized by Public Law 105-124, the United States $1 Coin Act of 1997, focusing on: (1) the public's preference for either Sacagawea--a Shoshone interpreter who accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition--or the Statue of Liberty as the image on the face of the new dollar coin; (2) how strongly the public felt about their preference; and (3) reasons for their choice.

GAO noted that: (1) the results of the International Communications Research (IRC) survey indicate that most adults 18 years of age or older in the continental United States would prefer the Statue of Liberty rather than Sacagawea to be the image on the face of the new dollar coin; (2) when asked to choose, an estimated 65 percent said that they preferred the Statue of Liberty, and 27 percent said that they preferred Sacagawea; (3) another 2 percent said that either choice was acceptable, about 3 percent said that neither choice was acceptable, and 3 percent said they had no opinion; (4) the survey results indicate that most respondents felt very or somewhat strongly about their choice; (5) of those who stated a preference for the Statue of Liberty, about 80 percent said they felt somewhat strongly or very strongly about their choice; (6) of those who stated a preference for Sacagawea, about 84 percent said they felt somewhat strongly or very strongly about their choice; (7) when asked to explain why they stated a preference for the Statue of Liberty or Sacagawea, respondents cited reasons that fell into two and three primary categories, respectively; (8) for survey participants who preferred the Statue of Liberty, responses fell primarily into the symbolism and familiarity/recognition categories respectively; and (9) for survey participants who chose Sacagawea, responses fell into the Native American, different/change, and history categories.

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