CBS News Poll: Who should appear on U.S. currency?


There may be no plans to put a new face on U.S. currency, but if Americans could see someone else join the elite ranks of American figures who are currently featured on U.S. bills, President John F. Kennedy is the first choice from a list of six potential candidates, according to a new CBS News poll.

A quarter of Americans (25 percent) would pick Kennedy (whose likeness is on the half-dollar coin), who currently is not represented on any paper currency.

Following close behind at 21 percent is Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., followed by President Ronald Reagan (20 percent).

Only 10 percent would pick President Franklin D. Roosevelt (whose likeness can be found on the dime). Just 8 percent would pick President Theodore Roosevelt (the only Mt. Rushmore resident who is not represented on currency) or Thomas Edison (the only non-president on the list other than King).

There are partisan differences with Republicans, Democrats and Independents all having their favorite choices. Reagan is by far the top choice among Republicans (chosen by 41 percent). Among Democrats, King is the top choice (34 percent), followed closely by Kennedy (31 percent). Among Independents, Kennedy is first (26 percent), followed by Reagan (21 percent) and King (18 percent).

There are also differences by age and race. King is the top choice of Americans under 50 (27 percent) and the overwhelming favorite among black Americans -- a majority of 54 percent of blacks would like to see him added to U.S. paper currency. Among Americans over 50 and whites, JFK is the top choice, followed closely by Reagan.

This poll was conducted by telephone from February 12-16, 2014 among 1,026 adults nationwide. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by Social Science Research Solutions of Media, Pa. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.