Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks Lead Suggestions for Revised $10 Bill

NEW YORK, N.Y. – With the U.S. Treasury Department’s recent announcement that a woman will be featured on the $10 bill starting in 2020 (while it will also continue producing bills featuring Alexander Hamilton), a popular question of late – even asked of the presidential candidates in last night’s Republican debate – is who should be the first woman to be featured on a U.S. bill.

Among U.S. adults, abolitionist Harriet Tubman and civil rights activist Rosa Parks are the top suggestions, followed by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Betsy Ross, credited with making the first American flag, is fourth on the list, with women’s suffrage activist Susan B. Anthony rounding out the top five.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,273 U.S. adults surveyed online between July 15 and 20, 2015.

How did the candidates’ responses compare? Of Americans’ top five, Rosa Parks was the most oft-heard name at the debate, brought up by Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz (though he suggested she be put on the $20 bill, not the $10) and Donald Trump (after first recommending his daughter, Ivanka). The only other figure from Americans’ top five who was also recommended by a candidate was Susan B. Anthony, suggested by Rand Paul.

Next up among U.S. adults is pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart, followed by the first First Lady, Martha Washington (in the sixth and seventh spots on the list, respectively). Scott Walker’s recommendation, American Red Cross founder Clara Barton, is eighth on Americans’ list. Finishing out the top ten are Native American historical figure Pocahontas and deaf-blind author and activist Helen Keller.

Other suggestions heard during the debate didn’t make the list, including Mike Huckabee’s wife and Ben Carson’s mother, late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, suggested by Jeb Bush; Albanian-Indian missionary Mother Theresa, suggested by John Kasich; and America’s second First Lady, Abigail Adams, suggested by Chris Christie.

Leading ladies

Americans’ top choices vary depending on who you ask:

  • The top suggestion among women is Rosa Parks, while men are most likely to recommend Harriet Tubman.
  • Tubman is also the top suggestion among those in the Eastern, Midwestern and Western regions, while Parks is at the top of the list among Americans in the South.
  • Millennials and Gen Xers point to Tubman as well, while Baby Boomers’ and Matures’ top choice is Eleanor Roosevelt.
  • For Republicans the top choice is Betsy Ross, while Democrats are most likely to suggest Rosa Parks and Independents most strongly favor Harriet Tubman.

Americans are divided on whether a woman’s first appearance on paper currency in the U.S. should be a costarring role, with half (50%) agreeing that a woman should not have to share a bill while half (50%) disagree with this statement.

And while many – including Ted Cruz – have suggested that the $20 bill’s Andrew Jackson should be singled out for replacement instead of the $10 bill’s Alexander Hamilton, this sentiment doesn’t appear to be at critical mass. While four in ten Americans (40%) feel a different bill should have been selected for sharing, six in ten (60%) disagree with this sentiment. Calling out Jackson more explicitly produces even less support, with 31% agreeing that Andrew Jackson should be replaced on the $20 bill while 69% disagree.

Majorities feel that having both a woman’s face (62%) and a minority’s face (56%) on paper money is long overdue.

  • Millennials are especially likely to agree on both these points (to the tune of 73% and 69%, respectively), while matures are least likely to do so (47% and 35%).
  • Women (66%) are more likely than men (58%) to agree specifically that having a woman’s face on paper money is long overdue in the U.S., though majorities of each do support this statement.

 

 

TABLE 1a

WHICH WOMAN FROM AMERICAN HISTORY SHOULD BE FIRST ON A U.S. BILL – TOP 10

“Regardless of whether or not you support the change to the $10 bill and excluding any women who are currently living, which woman from American history do you believe should be the first to be featured on a U.S. bill?”

Unprompted responses

Base: All adults

 

Rank

Harriet Tubman

1

Rosa Parks

2

Eleanor Roosevelt

3

Betsy Ross

4

Susan B. Anthony

5

Amelia Earhart

6

Martha Washington

7

Clara Barton

8

Pocahontas

9

Helen Keller

10

                                                                 

 


TABLE 1b

TOP THREE SELECTIONS AMONG DIFFERENT GROUPS

“Regardless of whether or not you support the change to the $10 bill and excluding any women who are currently living, which woman from American history do you believe should be the first to be featured on a U.S. bill?”

Unprompted responses

Base: All adults

Group

First Choice

Second Choice

Third Choice

 

Men

Harriet Tubman

Rosa Parks

Betsy Ross

Women

Rosa Parks

Eleanor Roosevelt /Harriet Tubman (TIE)

 

East

Harriet Tubman

Eleanor Roosevelt

Rosa Parks

Midwest

Harriet Tubman

Rosa Parks

Eleanor Roosevelt

South

Rosa Parks

Harriet Tubman

Eleanor Roosevelt

West

Harriet Tubman

Rosa Parks

Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Millennials (18-35)

Harriet Tubman

Rosa Parks

Eleanor Roosevelt

Gen X (36-50)

Harriet Tubman

Rosa Parks

Betsy Ross

Baby Boomers (51-69)

Eleanor Roosevelt

Betsy Ross

Rosa Parks

Matures (70+)

Eleanor Roosevelt

Betsy Ross

Susan B. Anthony/ Dolly Madison (TIE)

 

Republicans

Betsy Ross

Rosa Parks

Eleanor Roosevelt

Democrats

Rosa Parks

Harriet Tubman

Eleanor Roosevelt

Independents

Harriet Tubman

Rosa Parks

Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 

TABLE 2a

PAPER CURRENCY STATEMENTS

Grid Summary

 “The United States Treasury recently announced that it will begin producing $10 bills featuring a woman in the year 2020, while still producing $10 bills featuring Alexander Hamilton. How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements related to U.S. currency?”

Base: All adults

 

Strongly/ Somewhat Agree (NET)

Strongly agree

Somewhat agree

Strongly/ Somewhat Disagree (NET)

Somewhat disagree

Strongly disagree

%

%

%

%

%

%

Having a woman’s face on paper money is long overdue.

62

32

31

38

19

19

Having a minority’s face on paper money is long overdue.

56

25

31

44

20

24

A woman should not have to share a bill.

50

25

25

50

26

24

Only presidents should appear on paper currency.

49

27

22

51

27

24

A different bill should have been selected for sharing.

40

17

23

60

36

24

Andrew Jackson should be replaced on the $20 bill.

31

13

18

69

31

38

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding

 

TABLE 2b

AGREE WITH PAPER CURRENCY STATEMENTS

Summary of “Strongly/Somewhat Agree” selections by Generation, Gender & Political Party

“The United States Treasury recently announced that it will begin producing $10 bills featuring a woman in the year 2020, while still producing $10 bills featuring Alexander Hamilton. How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements related to U.S. currency?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Generation

Gender

Political Party

Millennials (18-35)

Gen X (36-50)

Baby Boomers (51-69)

Matures (70+)

Male

Female

Rep

Dem

Ind

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Having a woman’s face on paper money is long overdue.

62

73

61

59

47

58

66

41

79

62

Having a minority’s face on paper money is long overdue.

56

69

58

51

35

56

57

33

75

56

A woman should not have to share a bill.

50

57

44

49

48

48

52

37

59

52

Only presidents should appear on paper currency.

49

47

52

47

52

49

49

62

38

48

A different bill should have been selected for sharing.

40

42

38

37

46

44

36

40

41

38

Andrew Jackson should be replaced on the $20 bill.

31

40

27

29

23

34

29

17

44

29

 

 

TABLE 2c

DISAGREE WITH PAPER CURRENCY STATEMENTS

Summary of “Strongly/Somewhat Disagree” selections by Generation, Gender & Political Party

“The United States Treasury recently announced that it will begin producing $10 bills featuring a woman in the year 2020, while still producing $10 bills featuring Alexander Hamilton. How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements related to U.S. currency?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Generation

Gender

Political Party

Millennials (18-35)

Gen X (36-50)

Baby Boomers (51-69)

Matures (70+)

Male

Female

Rep

Dem

Ind

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Andrew Jackson should be replaced on the $20 bill.

69

60

73

71

77

66

71

83

56

71

A different bill should have been selected for sharing.

60

58

62

63

54

56

64

60

59

62

Only presidents should appear on paper currency.

51

53

48

53

48

51

51

38

62

52

A woman should not have to share a bill.

50

43

56

51

52

52

48

63

41

48

Having a minority’s face on paper money is long overdue.

44

31

42

49

65

44

43

67

25

44

Having a woman’s face on paper money is long overdue.

38

27

39

41

53

42

34

59

21

38

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between July 15 and 20, 2015 among 2,273 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. 

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

The Harris Poll® #55, September 17, 2015

By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll