Results of Penny Polls around the state of Maine on Election Day

Please pass along to others in your group or area. My apologies for not sending this out sooner.

Larry Dansinger

Larry Dansinger (207) 525-7776 (message),
Lisa Savage (207) 399-7623

Maine Voters Weigh in on Supercommittee Decisions

Nov 10 — Results of “Penny Polls,” held in eleven towns and cities throughout Maine on election day, will be announced at a press conference on Friday, November 11 at 1 PM at the Federal Building, 202 Harlow St., downtown Bangor. The polls demonstrated that voters want more of their tax dollars to go for social programs and much less for defense. About 2,075 voters participated in the polls that were offered to those who exiting polling stations on Election Day.
Organizers of the polls, representing the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign, wanted to see if most voters and taxpayers wanted less of their tax money going for defense and military purposes and more for social programs. Results of the polls clearly supported that assumption. 


Participants for these “penny polls” were given ten pennies, each representing ten percent of the income taxes they pay to the federal government. They were then asked to put pennies in jars, representing the largest parts of the federal discretionary budget, where they wanted their tax dollars to be spent.


The biggest vote getter in the poll was “education,” garnering 19.5% of all pennies, followed closely by “health care,” with 17.5%. The third most popular category was “veterans benefits,” with 13.2%, followed by “food/agriculture” at 9.8%, “environment/science” at 9.3%, “transportation” at 7.7%, and “interest on the national debt” at 7.5%. Bringing up the rear were “defense” at 6.5%, “housing/urban development” at 6.4%, and “general government” at 2.7%. Towns and cities represented included Portland, Lewiston, Bowdoinham, Belgrade, Wilton, Skowhegan, Belfast, Monroe, Old Town, Orland, and Southwest Harbor.

A 2010 estimate of these same categories by the National Priorities Project found that the defense portion was 58% of the discretionary budget, about nine times what penny poll participants wanted to spend. Categories where voters wanted much greater spending included education, health care, veterans benefits, and food/agriculture.

“We hope supercommittee members and those in congress, who are supposed to represent the public, will make budget decisions based on what Maine voters and taxpayers want. If they vote from their personal preferences or based on the influence of lobbyists representing narrow special interests, that wouldn’t be the kind of democracy that most people want,” stated Larry Dansinger of Monroe, who conducted one of the polls.  

A previous series of polls, at post offices, events, and other public venues, took place in the late spring and summer in each Maine county. Over 1,500 people participated in those polls, at least one in every county in Maine. Those results were within two percent of those from the election day polls. The results were also fairly consistent in different parts of the state.
For more information on these polls, contact Larry Dansinger, 525-7776, or Lisa Savage, 399-7623.




PENNY POLL RESULTS—November 8th election, 2011

Total Penny Poll Results—11 Polls throughout Maine


Defense:                                                             1340            6.5%

Education:                                                          4050            19.5%

Environment/Science:                                           1929            9.3%

Food/Agriculture:                                                2026            9.8%

General Government:                                           556            2.7%

Health Care:                                                       3622            17.5%

Housing/Urban Development:                             1322            6.4%

Interest on National Debt:                            1556            7.5%

Transportation:                                                    1597            7.7%

Veterans Benefits:                                                2739            13.2%


Total Pennies for all polls:                                    20,737            100%


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