• Polling

Most Americans See America in Crisis, But Reasons Vary by Party

Wednesday, July 7, 2021 By Bryan Bennett
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Welcome to NAVIGATOR – a project designed to better understand the American public’s views on issues of the day and help advocates, elected officials, and other interested parties understand the language, imagery, and messaging needed to make and win key policy arguments.

Key takeaways

  • While three in five say the country is in crisis, perceptions of why the country is in crisis varies largely by partisanship.
  • Biden and Democrats are more trusted to combat the pandemic, address hate crimes, deal with crises generally, rebuild the economy, and reduce violent crime than Republicans.
  • Americans see gas prices increasing and are concerned about inflation but are convinced by arguments that these are signs of the economy returning to normal.


Three in Five Say the Country Is in Crisis, But Americans Have Very Different Perceptions of Why

  • Democrats (53% “country is in a crisis”) are less likely to say the country is in a state of crisis than independents (60%) or Republicans (72%).

Perceptions of Crisis in the Country Vary Greatly By Partisanship

Among those who believe the country is in crisis, Democrats point to the pandemic, the number of unvaccinated Americans, the economy, and racism, while Republicans point to the border, illegal immigration, and rising prices.

  • The greatest concerns among independents are the pandemic, the economy, and the border.

Violent Crime and the Pandemic Are Seen As Top Crises

For Democrats, Black Americans, and Asian Americans, violent crime, the pandemic, and climate change are top crises; for Republicans, violent crime, the border, and China’s rise as a global superpower are top crises.

Despite Concerns on Crime, Economy and the Pandemic Remain Issues Americans Most Want Biden and Congress to Focus on

Despite crime being seen as a crisis, voters still prioritize the economy and the pandemic as top issues for Biden and Congress to be working on.

Biden and Democrats More Trusted Than Republicans to Handle Pandemic, Hate Crimes, Crises, Economy, and Violent Crime

Among independents, Biden and Democrats hold a 24-point lead on the pandemic, a 23-point lead on addressing hate crimes, a 1-point lead on dealing with crises, and a 6-point lead on violent crime.

  • Across racial groups, Biden and Democrats are more trusted to handle hate crimes, including by 70 points among Black Americans, 37 points among Hispanic Americans, and 61 points among Asian Americans.

Perception of Rising Crime Is Far More National Than Local

Two in three Americans say there is more crime in the United States than there was a year ago, but just over a third say the same of their local community.

  • In August, 71% said there was more crime nationally, and 33% said there was more in their community.

Americans Hearing About Shootings, Theft, and Drugs Locally; Murder, Mass Shootings, and Hate Crimes Nationally

When asked to describe what kinds of crimes they are hearing about locally, many mention shootings, robberies and petty theft, and murder. When asked the same about the country at large, Americans report hearing about mass shootings and shootings more generally, hate crimes, and violence and murder.

Biden and Democrats More Trusted Than Republicans to Handle Pandemic, Hate Crimes, Crises, Economy, and Violent Crime

Independents and Republicans are notably more concerned about the risk that crime poses than the pandemic, while Democrats are more split.

  • White liberal Democrats (48%) and Hispanic Democrats (54%) are more concerned about the pandemic, while white non-liberal (56%), Black (52%), and Asian (59%) Democrats are all more concerned about crime.

Gas Prices Are Seen as Rising, With Most Blame Going to Recent Disruptions in the Supply Chain

Among the 90% who say gas prices are increasing, 47% blame recent disruptions like the Colonial Pipeline
cyberattack, followed by recent travel, oil and gas companies, and environmental policies.

  • Since April, the share who say gas prices are going up significantly has increased 10 points (from 59% to 69%).

Four in Five Are Concerned Inflation Will Climb, and Groceries and Gas Raise the Most Concerns on Price

Nine in ten are concerned inflation will climb, and they are most concerned about the price of groceries and gas.

  • Out of the share who are concerned about inflation, 88% say groceries and 82% say gas are the items they are most concerned about. Almost half (48%) say they are concerned most about housing costs.

Most Americans Say Prices Rising Because of Profit Maximization and Increased Demand

A plurality say the price of goods is increasing in the United States because companies are maximizing profits, and a majority say prices are rising because of increased consumer demand rather than government spending.

Americans Are Convinced By a Range of Inflation Messaging, Especially That Prices are Returning to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Three in five Americans find each of a range of messages convincing on inflation, including that costs are returning to pre-pandemic levels, that costs are going up globally, and that the increase is simply due to consumer demand.

About The Study

This release features findings from a national online survey of 1,000 registered voters conducted June 24-28, 2021. Additional interviews were conducted among 100 Hispanic voters, 101 African American voters, 101 independents without a partisan lean, and 71 Asian American and Pacific Islander voters.

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About Navigator

In a world where the news cycle is the length of a tweet, our leaders often lack the real-time public-sentiment analysis to shape the best approaches to talking about the issues that matter the most. Navigator is designed to act as a consistent, flexible, responsive tool to inform policy debates by conducting research and reliable guidance to inform allies, elected leaders, and the press. Navigator is a project led by pollsters from Global Strategy Group and GBAO along with an advisory committee, including: Andrea Purse, progressive strategist; Arkadi Gerney, The Hub Project; Joel Payne, The Hub Project; Christina Reynolds, EMILY’s List; Delvone Michael, Working Families; Felicia Wong, Roosevelt Institute; Mike Podhorzer, AFL-CIO; Jesse Ferguson, progressive strategist; Navin Nayak, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Stephanie Valencia, EquisLabs; and Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

For press inquiries contact: press@navigatorresearch.org