New survey shows how Americans really feel about participation trophies

If you have a school-aged child who plays sports, you are more than familiar with the rise of the so-called participation trophy. Those in favor of the trophies-for-all methodology believe children cannot handle losing, and, therefore, everyone needs to be rewarded for participating. Those who disagree with the practice often point to participation trophies as the “wussification” of America.

With those competing ideologies in mind, the libertarian magazine Reason published the results of the latest Reason-Rupe poll showing 57% of Americans believe only winning players should receive trophies.

pie graphImage Source: Reason-Rupe

A 57% majority opinion in favor of merit-based trophy giving is certainly refreshing, but when you take a deeper look at the demographic breakdown, the results paint a very different picture.

According to Reason, the desire for “every kid to get a trophy” has a strong correlation with political beliefs. 66% of Republicans believe only winners should get trophies, while Democrats are split on the issue – 48% believe only winners deserve the recognition and 48% want trophies for all.

Based on the poll results, income, education, and age also play a role in one’s opinion. Reason reports:
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.

salary breakdownImage Source: Reason-Rupe/Washington Post

The age breakdown is even more telling. Among the 18-24 demographic, 51% of people say all kids should get a trophy. In the 25-34 year old age group, that number declines to 43%. For those ages 35-54 that number declines to 39%, and – last but not least – just 29% of “seniors” support the trophies for everyone.

age breakdownImage Source: Reason-Rupe/Washington Post

On radio this morning, Mike Broomhead filled in for Glenn, and he looked at the poll results in relation to the current state of America’s global prowess – or lack there of.

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“You’ve got all these young people, 18 to 24 years old, thinking everybody should get a trophy. Is it immaturity… or is it because that’s how they were raised,” Mike concluded. “There’s nothing wrong with realizing you are going to fight like crazy and do your absolute best and you still are not going to succeed… Now, I know that sounds so simplistic. [But], it is not.”