Public Opinion on Coronavirus: Navigator Update

Thursday, June 18, 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 1,009 registered voters conducted June 11-15, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • A majority support the protests following the death of George Floyd, and half disapprove of the police response to protests.
  • Two-thirds now view the Black Lives Matter movement favorably, with a six-point increase over the past week alone.
  • A majority now support NFL players kneeling in protest, the removal of Confederate statues, and NASCAR banning Confederate flags.

Majorities Support Protests, Disapprove of Police Response

Two in three support the anti-racist protests following Floyd’s death, while half disapprove of the police response.

  • On a separate question, 43% say police have gone too far in how they have responded to the protests, while only 23% say they have been about right in how they have responded.


Growing Favorability Towards Black Lives Matter Movement

Net favorability for the Black Lives Matter movement is up 11 points compared to last week.

  • Among Republicans, net favorability has increased by 15 points, from net -31 (30% unfavorable/61% favorable) to net -16 (39% favorable/55% unfavorable).

Public Sees Protests Still Happening, Less So Rioting

Three in five say peaceful protests against police violence are still happening in “many places,” twice the number who say the same for rioting and looting.

  • While nine in ten African Americans (90%) believe that police are still committing acts of violence against protesters, only 62% of whites say the same.

Growing Optimism that Protests Will Drive Change

Nearly two in three see the recent incidents involving police brutality and protests as effective in making meaningful change around police treatment of Black Americans, up 6 points from last week.

  • Among African Americans, 75% say the protests will be effective, up 12 points from last week (from 63% to 75%).
  • Among Republicans, a majority (52%) say the protests will be effective, up 9 points from last week (from 43%).

Many Have Taken Action or Spoken Out After the Death of George Floyd

Three in ten Americans say they have posted on social media in support of anti-racism protests, one in ten have donated to a cause, and 7% have attended a protest.

  • Among African Americans, 43% have posted on social media, while 11% have protested themselves.

Trump Entering Fray Around NFL Protest Issue Increases Support for Players

In a split test about support for NFL players kneeling, a majority support protesters when opponents of the protests are described generally. When Trump is added to opposition messaging, support for protesters is 10 points higher.

  • Support for protesters has grown a net 6 points in the non-Trump messaging (from -2 to +4) since last week.

Growing Number Support Removal of Confederate Statues

Half now support removing Confederate statues from public spaces, up 7 points from one week ago and 11 points from a Quinnipiac poll from August 2017.

  • Among whites, support has grown 10 points since August 2017 (from 33% to 43%), and among Republicans, net support has grown 12 points (from 9% to 21%).

Majorities Unfavorable Toward Confederate Flag and Approve of NASCAR Ban

More than three in five Americans approve of NASCAR banning Confederate flags and are unfavorable to the flag.

  • Even among NASCAR fans*, 59% approve of the NASCAR decision to ban Confederate flags.