American Majority: Cut Post Office Hours, but Leave Stamp Prices Alone

Photo by Donovan BeesonSixty-three percent of Americans say they favor ending Saturday residential mail delivery as a way for the U.S. Postal Service to address its financial problems. A similar majority also favor reducing the number of days local post office branches are open. A majority oppose raising stamp prices.

The postmaster general testified before Congress on Wednesday about the Postal Service's plans to eliminate Saturday mail delivery starting in August, to save roughly $2 billion a year. It is unclear whether Congress must approve that action.

Gallup has asked about possible solutions to the Postal Service's financial woes previously -- in 2009 and 2010 -- and has consistently found majority support for reducing the number of days mail is delivered, regardless of the precise question wording. Previous versions of the question on reducing mail delivery days did not specify elimination of Saturday mail delivery, as the Postal Service is now proposing.

Majorities have also favored reducing the number of days post offices are open, while a majority has consistently opposed increases in stamp prices. In January, the post office raised the price of a stamp for a first-class letter to 46 cents, the third increase in three years.

Young Adults and Nonwhites Least Supportive of Eliminating Saturday Delivery

Most members of major U.S. subgroups support the elimination of Saturday residential mail delivery. The two exceptions are young adults and nonwhites, who are divided in their opinions. People of higher socioeconomic status -- including upper-income adults and those with more formal education -- are the groups most likely to support ending Saturday delivery.

While majorities of all partisan groups favor ending Saturday delivery, Republicans (69 percent) show higher support for this than Democrats (56 percent).

The demographic patterns of support for reducing the number of days post office branches are open are similar to those for ending Saturday delivery. Upper-income (76 percent) and college-educated Americans (72 percent) are also among the groups most likely to support reducing the number of days post office branches are open, while nonwhites (58 percent) and young adults (57 percent) are among the groups least likely to support such a step.

Between 40 percent and 50 percent of most subgroups favor raising stamp prices. One notable exception is young adults, 28 percent of whom support increasing the cost of stamps.

Implications

The proposal to end Saturday residential mail delivery is not a new one, but the U.S. Postal Service hopes to move forward with the change this August. The American public seems to back the move, and in fact has for some time supported a one-day reduction in the number of days mail is delivered each week as a way to help the U.S. Postal Service solve its financial issues.

Whether Saturday mail delivery ends in August as planned may ultimately depend on legal questions over whether Congress must approve the move and, if so, whether Congress actually does approve it.

Source: Gallup

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