Latest Daily update Updated Thursday September 24, 2020

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Americans are split on who they think will win in November at a time when many are concerned about the potential of a long count, voter supression, and foreign interference among other potential election-related issues.

Key takeaway Americans are split on whether Biden or Trump is more likely to win the election, but those who think Trump is going to win are more confident than those who think Biden will; Top concerns about the November election include results differing in the days after Election Day from the night of the election, voter suppression, and foreign interference; Americans say climate change is at least partially to blame for recent extreme weather events, and many believe Trump has failed to do enough to help those affected by wildfires.
Thursday, September 24, 2020

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.

This release features findings from a national online survey of 1,230 registered voters conducted September 17-21, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • Americans are split on whether Biden or Trump is more likely to win the election, but those who think Trump is going to win are more confident than those who think Biden will.
  • Top concerns about the November election include results differing in the days after Election Day from the night of the election, voter suppression, and foreign interference.
  • Americans say climate change is at least partially to blame for recent extreme weather events, and many believe Trump has failed to do enough to help those affected by wildfires.

Americans Split on Who They Believe Will Win in November

The public is split evenly on whether they think Biden or Trump will win the presidential election, consistent with the last month of data on the topic.

  • Democrats (82% Biden) and Republicans (88% Trump) are consolidated behind their party’s nominee in belief of victory in November, while independents (54%) lean slightly towards expectation of a Biden victory.

While Voters Are Split on Who Will Win, Those Who Say Biden Are More Likely To Say There’s a Chance It Goes Other Way

Americans who believe Biden is going to win are more reluctant to say that he will “definitely win,” while a majority of those who think Trump will win say he will “definitely win.”

  • Among Democrats, two in five who think Biden is going to win think he definitely will win, while 62% of Republicans who think Trump is going to win think he definitely will.

Americans Who Say They Intend to Vote Also Say They Know When, Where, and How They Will Be Casting Their Ballot

Biden and Trump voters are equally likely to have a plan for voting in the November election – though only two in three independents say they have a plan, and more than one in three say they do not yet have a plan.

Two in Five Intend to Vote By Mail

When asked how they intend to cast their ballot, a plurality say they are voting by mail or absentee ballot, while more than a third intend to cast their ballot in person on Election Day.

  • Among Americans 65 and older, 53% say they intend to vote by mail.

Majority of Mail Voters Have Already Requested Their Absentee Ballot and Most Plan to Return Ballot Right Away

Two in three Americans who intend to vote by mail have already submitted a request for a mail-in ballot, and while 59% of Americans are not voting by mail, 31% of Americans say they are voting by mail and will return their ballot immediately upon receiving it.

Growing Share Expect It Will Take Longer Than a Day to Know Outcome of Presidential Election

Three in five say it will take longer than a day to know who won the presidential election, up double digits from three weeks ago in August.

  • In a follow-up question, 58% say that we will know within a couple of days or sooner, while 13% say it may take a few weeks or longer until we have the results.

Most Americans Are Confident That Both November Results and Their Own Ballot Will Be Counted Fairly

While the vast majority of Americans are confident that both their own vote and the results of the November election overall will be counted fairly, there is greater confidence in personal ballots being counted accurately.

  • The biggest partisan gulf between belief one’s own ballot and the election results at large will be counted accurately exists among Republicans, with 74% confident about the election, 85% their own ballot.

Top Concerns About November Election: A Long Count, Voter Suppression, Foreign Interference

While Americans across partisanship are worried about Election Night results changing in the days after, Democrats are more worried about voter suppression and foreign interference, and Republicans about voter fraud.

Vast Majority Agree More People Voting is Good for Democracy, Exercising Vote Is Important Civic Duty

Three in four Americans agree “more people voting is good for democracy,” including two in three Republicans who “strongly agree.”

  • Among those voting in person on Election Day, 49% agree that there is “no bigger risk of fraud” with mail voting than votes cast in person.

Americans Overwhelmingly Prefer Campaigns Avoid Door-to-Door Canvassing

Seven in ten Americans say that campaigns should be focusing on “no-contact” communications this election cycle while only one in six say campaigns should be doing traditional door-to-door canvassing this year.

  • Among Americans 65 and older, 70% say that campaigns should focus on “no-contact” communications.

More Americans Have Unfavorable View of Mike Pence Than Kamala Harris

While less than two in five have unfavorable views of Kamala Harris, nearly half have unfavorable views of Mike Pence.

  • Donald Trump is 15-points underwater on favorability (42% favorable/57% unfavorable) while Joe Biden is 7 points in the positive (52% favorable/45% unfavorable).

Worries Over Extreme Weather Events on Par With Other Major Issues Like Coronavirus and the Economy

Americans are most worried about people in nursing homes being vulnerable to coronavirus, the economy falling into a recession, and extreme disasters like wildfires and hurricanes.

  • Both Democrats (93%) and Republicans (73%) are worried about extreme weather disasters.

Two Thirds Believe Climate Change Probably or Definitely Contributed to Recent Wildfires

Two in three say that climate change has contributed to the recent wildfires, and nearly two in five say it has “definitely” contributed.

  • Republicans are split on the issue, with a 6-point gap between the share who say that climate change has contributed (42%) and those who say it has not (48%). Only 27% say it has definitely not contributed.

Americans Say Trump “Not Doing Enough” on Wildfires and Agree He Is Remaining Silent, Not Helping the Situation

Half of Americans say that Trump and his administration are not doing enough to respond to the recent wildfires and more than three in four agree with a statement criticizing his response.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

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.

This release features findings from a national online survey of 1,230 registered voters conducted September 17-21, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • The public continues to see the pandemic as the most important issue for the president and Congress to address.
  • A vast majority support continuing expanded unemployment insurance, and Americans are split on blaming Democrats and Republicans for lack of progress on coronavirus relief.
  • Majorities continue to say America’s response to the pandemic has been worse than the responses of other countries and that Trump made the pandemic worse than it needed to be.

Trump’s Job Approval Ratings Remain Negative

Trump’s approval ratings on his handling of his job overall as president, the issue of health care, the pandemic, and protests remain deeply underwater, while he’s breaking even on his handling of the economy.

  • Among independents, Trump is 10 points underwater this week on his handling of the economy (40% approve/50% disapprove).

Trump’s Handling of the Pandemic, the Supreme Court, and His Lying Are the Top Negative Things Heard About Him

The vast majority (77%) continue to hear negative things about Trump this week, with a focus on his response to coronavirus, his lies, and the recent news about appointing a new Supreme Court Justice.

Pandemic Remains Consistently Top Issue for Americans, Followed By Jobs & the Economy and Health Care

Coronavirus, jobs and the economy, and health care are the three issues that receive a high priority from Democrats, independents, and Republicans. Climate change, crime and disorder, and terrorism are divided by partisanship.

  • A week ago, 5% ranked Supreme Court appointments as a top four issue (5% of both Democrats and Republicans). Following recent news, 13% rank it as a top issue, with a jump among Democrats (12%) and Republicans (19%).

Three in Five Remain Concerned Social Distancing Will End Too Soon

Just three in ten are more concerned social distancing will go on too long rather than end too soon.

  • Among independents, 53% are more concerned social distancing will end too soon, while only 30% are more concerned social distancing will go on too long.

Majority Remain More Concerned About Public Health Than the National Economy

More than half say they are more concerned about the impact of coronavirus on people’s health rather than on the economy as a whole.

  • On a separate question, 54% of Americans say they know someone who has been infected with coronavirus.

Only Republicans Express More Confidence Than Unease in Their Personal Financial Situation

A majority of Americans say they are confident about their personal financial situation over the next few months, while a plurality say the economy is getting worse.

  • Republicans (68% confident) are driving the share who are personally confident about their financial situation and who believe the economy is getting better (51%).
  • Independents are personally uneasy about finances (63%) and say the economy is getting worse (52%).

Vast Majority Continue to Support Expanded Unemployment Compensation, Equally Blame Both Parties for Lack of Relief

More than two in three support expanded unemployment compensation, but Americans are split on whether they blame Democrats in Congress or Trump and Republicans in Congress more for the lack of progress on relief.

Top Trump Concerns: 200,000 American Casualties from Coronavirus & Making Situation in Cities Worse

Across party lines, the most concerning thing about Trump in the last few weeks is the number of Americans who have died from coronavirus and his adding fuel to the fire on the situation in cities.

On Economy, Top Trump Concern Is Ignoring Experts to Reopen Too Soon, Causing New Surge and Costing More Jobs

Among Democrats and independents, the top concern on Trump’s handling of the economy is his ignoring of experts and reopening the country too soon, causing a new surge in cases that will set back the economy again.

Majorities Say America’s Pandemic Response Worse Than Other Countries’, Trump Made Things Worse Than Necessary

More than half continue to say America’s response to the pandemic has been worse than other countries’ and three in five say Trump made mistaking that made the coronavirus outbreak worse than it should have been.

  • The share of Republicans saying America is doing better than other countries has dropped 14 points in 3 weeks.

Majority Say Trump Drive for Vaccine Motivated By Politics

More than half say that Trump and his administration’s approach to the coronavirus vaccine is motivated by politics so they can announce a vaccine before the election, while just a quarter say it is motivated by public health.

  • Even among 2016 Trump voters*, 25% say that Trump’s vaccine approach is more motivated by politics.

By 20 Points, People Say Trump Making Health Care More Expensive

Nearly half say Trump is making health care more expensive, while less than a third say he is making it more affordable.

  • Among those mixed on Trump*, 33% say he is making health care more expensive, while only 24% say he is making health care more affordable.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

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.

This release features findings from a national online survey of 1,000 registered voters conducted September 19-21, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • A majority say the election winner should nominate Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement.
  • Mitch McConnell is unpopular and a majority oppose him bringing a nominee for a vote in the Senate before Election Day.
  • The most convincing reasons to delay confirmation until after the election are prioritizing the pandemic response and Senate Republicans pushing through a Justice after refusing to hold hearings for Obama’s nominee.

In Ruth Bader Ginsburg, America Loses Beloved Figure

Nearly two in three Americans have a favorable view of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with almost half saying they have a “very favorable” view.

  • A majority of Democrats (82%) and independents (53%) have favorable views of Ginsburg, as do a plurality (41%) of Republicans.

By 20-Point Margin, Americans Want Winner of November Election to Pick Ginsburg’s Replacement

A majority say whoever wins the election in November should be responsible for nominating a replacement, rather than that Trump should nominate a replacement immediately.

  • Fewer than a third of independents (31%) think Trump should immediately nominate a replacement.

Democrats in Congress Hold Advantage Over Trump in Putting the Right People on the Supreme Court

Democrats in Congress are more trusted than Trump to put the right people on the Supreme Court by double digits.

  • Independents are largely undecided (45% don’t know) on who they trust more to handle the issue of putting people on the Supreme Court.

McConnell is Deeply Unpopular and Plurality Oppose Him Bringing SCOTUS Nominee for Vote

A near-majority of Americans oppose McConnell bringing Trump’s nominee for a Senate vote, and McConnell’s personal popularity is underwater by 24 points.

Progressives Clearly Win Back and Forth Debate Over Timing of SCOTUS Pick

By a 15-point margin, more agree since Obama’s nominee was not considered in 2016 since it was an election year, no hearings should be held for Trump’s pick either – while just one in three say the vacancy should be filled right away.

  • A third of independents (31%) are undecided.

Among Persuadables, Distraction from Pandemic is Most Convincing Reason to Wait Until After Election for SCOTUS

Opposition to Pre-Election SCOTUS Nomination Grows After Messaging

Before hearing arguments for waiting until after the election to confirm a new justice, there is a 5-point advantage in the share who say it would be wrong for the Senate to hold a vote on Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court before the November election. After, there is an 18-point advantage that “it would be wrong.”

The Affordable Care Act Weighs Heaviest On the Minds of Americans Thinking About Court Rulings

While the Affordable Care Act is a top issue across party lines for Americans in terms of how the Court decides future cases, other issues like racial justice and immigration are more divided by partisanship.

  • Democrats’ top issues are the ACA and racial justice, while Republicans’ are gun laws and immigration.