Public Opinion on Coronavirus: Navigator Update

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 1,608 registered voters conducted June 4-8, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • Democrats in Congress are much more trusted than Trump on issues related to race relations, and most Americans lack confidence in him on issues related to police and race.
  • A majority see race relations as having gotten worse under Trump and think he is making things worse through divisive language and actions.
  • Four in five Americans are concerned that the national conversation has become too focused on the protests instead of the killings and systemic racism that have led up to them.

Democratic Advantage on Issues Relating to Race


Democrats in Congress hold a double-digit lead over Trump in trust to handle various issues relating to recent protests, including race relations and relations between the police and the Black community.

  • Nearly three in four (74%) African Americans and 63% of Hispanics trust Democrats more than the president to handle race relations, while a plurality (43%) of white Americans say the same.

On Race, More Confidence in Democrats Than in Trump

A majority of Americans say they have “not much”/”no confidence” in Trump to resolve issues related to race and policing – while a majority say they have “a lot”/”some confidence” in Democrats to resolve those issues.

  • On “ensuring the equal treatment of Black Americans in society,” 17% of African Americans have “a lot”/”some confidence” in Trump to resolve related issues, while 70% have “a lot”/”some confidence” in Democrats.

Public Believes Race Relations Under Trump Have Worsened

More than half believe under Trump, race relations have gotten worse, and two in five say much worse.

  • Two in three African Americans (66%) and 54% of Hispanics say race relations have gotten “much worse” under Trump.
  • Even among 2016 Trump voters, only 35% say race relations have gotten better.

Trump Losing Argument on Law and Order

More agree Trump is making things worse than say he is standing up for law and order.

Top Trump Concerns: “Fuel on the Fire,” Caring About Himself

Roughly half – and many independents – say a series of Trump actions on coronavirus, recent protests, and the economy raise “very serious” concerns.

Antifa is Largely a Republican Construct

While a plurality of Americans are unfavorable to Antifa, more than two in five Americans have not heard of them.

  • Among Republicans who watch Fox News, only 27% are unfamiliar with the group and 71% are unfavorable – on the other hand, among Republicans who do not watch Fox News, 37% are unfamiliar and 60% are unfavorable.

Shifting Attitudes on NFL Players Kneeling

Americans are evenly divided in their support for NFL players protesting by kneeling during the national anthem.

  • Support for these protests has grown a net 14 points since November 2018, from net -16 support (42% appropriate/58% disrespectful) to -2 (49% appropriate/51% disrespectful).

Mixed Support for Removing Confederate Statues – But Progress Over Past Polling

Support for removal of Confederate statues is divided significantly by race and party: majorities of independents, Republicans, and whites oppose their removal, while majorities of Democrats, Black, and Hispanic Americans support.

  • In a 2017 Quinnipiac poll, 39% of Americans supported removing Confederate statues and 50% opposed: since, net support for removal has increased 10 points (from -11 to -1).

Mixed Views on Media Coverage of Protests

Views on the media’s coverage of recent protests is divided, driven largely by news consumption.

  • Fox News viewers are more likely to think that coverage has been too supportive of protesters (56%), while majorities of CNN viewers (53%) and MSNBC viewers (54%) think coverage has gotten the balance about right.

Concern National Conversation Not Focused Enough on Issues that Led to Protests

Across party and race, the vast majority of Americans are more concerned that the national conversation has become too focused on protests instead of the issues that led up to them.

Negative Reaction to Image of Trump Holding up Bible at St. John’s Church

A majority of Americans say they have a positive impression of various images related to the protests, though three in five Americans say an image of Trump with a bible in front of St. John’s church gives them a negative impression.

  • Only 18% of African Americans and 27% of Hispanics say the image of Trump gives them a positive impression.