Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

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

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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).