Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

57 Percent of Americans Say Only Kids Who Win Should Get Trophies


The latest Reason-Rupe poll finds that when it comes to kids and their trophies, 57 percent of Americans think only the winning players should receive them. Another 40 percent say all kids on a sport team should receive a trophy for their participation.

The desire for "every kid to get a trophy" strongly correlates with political beliefs. Fully 66 percent of Republicans want only the kids who win to receive trophies, while 31 percent say all kids on the team should receive them. In contrast, Democrats are evenly divided with 48 percent who say all kids, and another 48 percent who say only the winners should receive a trophy.

The competitive desire for winners to be rewarded correlates with fiscal conservatism. Among those who only think winners should get a trophy, 64 percent have a favorable view of capitalism, 64 percent thinks markets better solve problems than government, and 63 percent favor smaller government providing fewer services. In contrast, among those who think all kids should get a trophy, a plurality (49%) have an unfavorable view of capitalism, 50 percent thinks a strong government better solves problems than the free market, and 54 percent favor larger government providing more services.

Support for participation trophies declines with income, education and age. For instance, a majority (55%) of those making less than $30,000 a year want all kids to get trophies and 42 percent want only the winning players to receive them. In contrast, among those making $90,000 a year or more, 72 percent want only the winner to receive trophies, while 26 percent favor participation trophies.

Those with high school degrees or less are divided 49 to 48 in favor of participation trophies. But 67 percent of college graduates support only winners getting trophies, while 29 percent want all kids to get one.

Among 18-24 year olds, 51 percent say all kids should get a trophy, but this declines to 43 percent among 25-34 year olds, 39 percent among 35-54 year olds, and 29 percent among seniors.

Gender and race/ethnic differences also emerge when it comes to trophy allocation. Women are slightly more likely then men (44 to 35 percent) to say all kids should get a trophy. However, more significant differences emerge among race/ethnic groups. Fully 63 percent of Caucasians say only the winning players should get trophies, while 34 percent say all kids. Conversely, 56 percent of African-Americans and Hispanics say all kids should get a trophy, while 42 percent say only the winners.

UPDATE: New chart added on trophy preferences and views on size of government, markets, and capitalism.

The Reason-Rupe national telephone poll, executed by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, conducted live interviews with 1000 adults on cell phones (500) and landlines (500) August 6-10, 2014. The poll's margin of error is +/-3.7%. Full poll results can be found here. including poll toplines (pdf)  and crosstabs (xls).

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  1. Yeah? Well, what do Millennials think?

    1. Look at the bottom chart…they seem to be the most sympathetic for trophies for everyone.

      1. Bunch of weak losers. I wee for the future.

        1. I meant to say ‘weep’, but, what the Hell. Thagt works too.

        2. I wee when I drink to much Old English

          1. * too much OH GODDAMNIT SQUIRRELS !

    2. See the bottom chart. It breaks it down by age. The millennials think everyone should get a trophy by a small majority.

      Yeah, we are doomed.

      1. I was at the beginning of this stuff. I remember on some elementary school field day getting a participation ribbon and thinking “but I didn’t win anything.”

        1. You can’t make someone value something they didn’t earn. Humans just are not wired that way. It is the reason why organizations that anyone can join like the military or fraternities have to haze. For whatever reason, people only value things they feel like they have sacrificed to earn. All hazing rituals do is get people value membership in the group by making them sacrifice or suffer to obtain membership. If you just let anyone in, no one values their membership.

          So it doesn’t matter how nice of a trophy you give or how kind of words you give to a kid, they are not going to value or appreciate it if they didn’t earn it.

          1. Anyone can join the military? And there is hazing? I must have missed that during all the pre-enlistment testing and not getting hazed during my tour in the Army.

            1. You didn’t miss it. It is called basic training. And anyone who is healthy and not too much of a deviant or criminal can join the Army.

            2. Uh, yes to both questions.

          2. I thought fraternities cost big money and the nicer ones cost more. Seems like there isnt a need for hazing.

            1. Yeah, I’ve heard people give bs reasons like shared humiliation, but it really looks to just be the cycle of violence.

            2. Buying your way in doesn’t make you value it. I think frats are idiotic and would never have joined one. Without hazing, they completely fall apart.

              Read what you will from that fact about the intelligence of the typical frat boy, but it is true. Hazing gets people to value membership and be loyal to the group in a way that just charging an entrance fee doesn’t.

              1. “Hazing gets people to value membership and be loyal to the group in a way that just charging an entrance fee doesn’t”

                I’m not sure the members at Merion Golf Club or Pine Valley would agree.

                1. “Come on, Eustace, old boy, the sooner you put your testicles in the ball-washer, the sooner the hazing will be over, and the sooner we can adjourn to the clubhouse for cocktails.”

      2. We can hope that at least some of them will grow out of it. Of my progressive classmates in undergrad who tried to stick it to the plutocratic class, many are now corporate lawyers or the like.

        1. Well, yes and no. They may lose their generalized redistributionist instincts. But, my guess is that they retained their indifference to means in service to the right ends.

    3. I was astounded to find out just this past Sunday the local tee ball kids don’t keep score, but I’m damn near 30 so I might not really count.

      1. The kids keep score. It’s the grownups who are play pretending.

        1. Good point. My sports are all individual, so I am not well versed on the dynamics of team sports beyond anything past high school gym class.

        2. Yes. I heard Bob Knight say in response to a question of whether players had changed during his time in coaching “kids never change, it is just the adults who change”. Never were truer words spoken. Kids have always and will always keep score no matter what the adults do.

          1. He nailed that on the head.

      2. I was in my mid-40s when I coached “coach pitch” baseball (ages 7-9). Based on the nonsense every other coach displayed (confusing and frustrating their players by switching defensive positions *every effing inning*) I was by far the best coach in the league. My best four players also happened to be among the best in the league (their dads were the ones I recruited to keep the kids constantly in action at practice) – they play the position the entire season. On my my “rivals” questioned that – I didn’t try to ‘coach’ him – just acknowleged that I did it (like most leagues at age 10-up).

        The kids kept score and we went 16-0. The dads were great -they accepted me as leader and we collectively watched every player (even the least talented one) improve to a striking degree. Very Gratifying.

    4. Where do you think that 40% came from?

  2. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser.

    1. “Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser.”

      But what about when you can’t tell ’em apart?

    2. So lets make everyone a winner, that way we won’t have to tolerate any losers.

      1. Because, when everyone is super, NOBODY is super.

    3. Americans play to win all the time. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose. The very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.

      Which is why “Dancing with the Stars” is the most significant competition in which a man can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base.

  3. “I got this trophy for participating in a game in which one of the two teams had a quarterback that got four touchdowns in one game.”

  4. A real libertarian would say that it doesn’t matter who deserves the trophies, only who can afford them in the marketplace of voluntary, mutually beneficial contracts.

  5. There’s a pollcopalyse on the horizon, you can smell it in the air…


      1. Pollsharknado!

              1. Buncha polltroons WOULD think this

  6. Yes, but what does the trophy makers industry think?

    1. I blame the lobbying from Big Trophy.

  7. And the award for most irrelevant poll goes to…

    1. Yeah, Emily really must have been desperate to do a new poll.

    2. …elections with only a single unopposed candidate?

  8. I’ve been in the parent-principal meetings where a mom asked why not all the kids got an award. You could see the grimaces on the faces of the three fathers in attendance.

    1. What is up with women? My mother was never like that. At what point did women become like this? I don’t remember them being this way in the past.

      1. What is up with women?

        Probably that time of the month again.

      2. I don’t know. To be fair, there were some mothers who were visibly annoyed as well.

    2. That kind of shit makes me long for the days when women were little more than brood sows with the same rights as chattel.

    3. I’ve been in the parent-principal meetings where a mom asked why not all the kids got an award.

      This should really be the first lesson in how people are different. Some people are going to be better than you at certain things.

      So how are you going to react to that? Are you going to realize your own limitations? Are you going to try to identify what you’re better at and optimize your strengths?

      Or are you going to try to change the rules so that the other person can’t use their abilities to perform at a level you can’t match?

      Giving everyone a trophy is analogous to regulatory destruction. You’ve changed the scale so that the majority of people saturate it, meaning that the average performers can’t be differentiated from the exceptional ones.

      Even our traditional grading system does this. Average is a C, which is generally 70-80 percent. If the tests were actually designed to see what students knew, then the average(C) would be a 50.

    4. Did anyone explain it? “Trophy’s are worthless if the most spastic kid (hers?) gets one – May as well pass out rolls of toilet paper”

      “Self esteem comes from striving and improving – if you hand out ‘self-esteem awards’ to everyone – you create a bunch of young cynics.”

      “They do that in school already – why corrupt sports?”

  9. All this time, I thought we were kidding when we made fun of “everyone gets a trophy” mentality — looks like there really are some people who buy into it. Amazing.

  10. Yay, we are in the majority. The scary part is 40% actually think they should be rewarded for not accomplishing anything.

    1. And the percentage who think that directly correlates with the amount of education and achievement they have. That is the unsurprising but scary part.

  11. It appears that the bed wetter generation, a.k.a. millenials – thinks you should get a trophy just for participating by a small margin.

    It is data like this and the other retarded polling data for millenials – who appear to want free sheet for all, but are not into taxes, that makes me begin to wonder if voting should go back to a right for the land owners and journeymen.

    If you do not have skin in the game, why are you playing?

    1. If someone gave me a button to make that change to the franchise, I’d push it in a heartbeat.

  12. More proof that young democrats are fucking idiots.

  13. WhoTH are the other idiots?

  14. It’s all fun and games until about age 20 when one person gets the job and the others are looking for their trophy.

    1. ^this. I can’t tell you how many of my old high school classmates and other age cohorts are constantly bitching on social media about how hard life is, how they aren’t being given a fair shake, and how they have no future.

      It’s fun to correlate that to their helicopter parents and their bullshit “do what you love” lib arts degree.

      1. You know who can really bitch? My grandmother’s generation. Of course, once you get to 90, there’s a lot to bitch about.

        1. “Of course, once you get to 90, there’s a lot to bitch about.”

          Hey, if you get to 90, there’s a lot to cheer about!
          It’s the ones that don’t make it that far who ought to bitch.

  15. My kids range in age from 9 to 25. IMHO, giving the youngest kids a “participation” award encourages them and is actually a good idea. Once they get a bit older, certainly by middle school, all a participation award does is make them feel patronized.
    And they do all keep score, and gloat over victory and bemoan losses, no matter the age.

  16. I think that a six-year-old who makes it to all the practices and who works hard and who loses all his/her games deserves a little trophy or medal, something tangible to say “see, you may be a loser, but at least you got something for not sitting in front of the TV all day like that fat-assed neighbor kid.

    1. I have nothing against small participation trophies and medals. However, I think that there should be a championship trophy, and it should be better.

      Incentivize participation. Incentivize winning even stronger.

      1. I played little league 1969-71.

        Our “participation award” was to go get ice cream (or just soda pops from the concession stand) – a damn sight better than a valueless after the game participation-award.

    2. The 6yr old gets the reward of being part of something bigger than himself and is recognized for it merely by attending and being counted.

      Being part of a team is its own reward. It doesn’t require individual recognition but only requires acceptance that the person has contributed to the team. Giving out a ‘he showed up for every practice’ award cheapens all the honors that other kids achieve through exceptional effort, and the winners of the bullshit prizes know it. (i should know, I got the consolation prizes all the time)

      I played sports from early youth through college and was mostly mediocre at all of them all of the time (with some occasional spurts of slightly less-than-mediocre)

      But being a perennial ‘player’ was more than enough personal recognition from peers. while you may not be a ‘threat’ you’re part of the game. And you can’t have a game without a full squad, so even the scrubs make it happen!

      Scrubs don’t want bonus prizes. trust me. They just want to be part of the team.

        1. true.

          my teams tended to get whooped.

  17. Yawwwwwnnnn…..

  18. How about nobody get a trophy?

    1. Never works out that way.
      Someone always ends up winning and everyone knows it. Complete egalitarianism is a fantasy.

  19. Well, what I want to know is, why is there this unfair discrimination in favor of the kids who participate? What about the kids who sit on their fat arses in front of the television and munch down cheesey poofs? Doesn’t their self-esteem count for anything?

  20. This is a slippery slope that we’ve been sliding down for some time; it isn’t some new millennial deal that boomer parents initiated.
    I once asked my dad about all the medals he wore in his WWII photo.
    He said he couldn’t remember why he got them because he was a rear echelon puke during the entire war. Today we see NYPD cops with more
    medals than Gen. Patton. “Yeah, this one is for heroic action in untangling the Triboro Bridge traffic jam in ’04!”

  21. When Louis Carroll’s Dodo said, “*everybody* has won, and all must have prizes,” it was in a children’s story which dealt in nonsense and silliness.

    Now we have 40% of the population who say, “wow, that’s a really good idea!”

    1. (from University of Adelaide Web site)

  22. Interesting, and kind of weird! Who’d’a thunk there’d be such correlations with a Q like that?

    I coach children in football, and they all get trophies, and I think that’s fine. Why shouldn’t everyone get a memento that their parents paid for?

    1. Because a *trophy* is for excellence.

      Why let the mediocre devalue the excellent?

      Any thing else to memoralize the season would be more suitable.

    2. As a coach I got a baseball, signed by all my players – a very nice momento – along with the cap I wore that season.

      Why not give out something personalized like that?

      You could even have a signing ceremony with all the kids and coaches.

  23. My nephew was in a soccer league as a child. One year they had playoffs – #1 played #2, #3 vs. #4, all the way down to #15 vs. #16.

    Disgusting – worse than “handicap bowling”.

  24. What is the incentive to succeed if there is no reward? You can trace the rise of rewarding mediocrity with the rise of socialism in this country. Personally, I blame it all on giving women the right to vote.

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