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 1,015 registered voters conducted July 16-20, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • Americans say the economy is in bad shape, and a growing majority think it is getting worse.
  • Two in three continue to support extending expanded unemployment insurance until at least January 2021.
  • The public disapproves of Trump’s handling of the economic response to the pandemic and believes it has hurt the economy.

Growing Majority Say Economy is Getting Worse

Since June 15, the share who say the economy is “getting worse” has grown by 6 points.

  • On a separate question, 74% of Americans rate the economy as “not so good” or “poor,” including 85% of Democrats, 75% of independents, and 60% of Republicans.

Majority Uneasy About Their Personal Financial Situation

The share who feel uneasy rather than confident about their personal finances in the next few months has grown by a net 11 points since June 8.

  • On June 8, 29% of Republicans and 56% of Democrats said they felt uneasy about their personal financial situation over the next few months. Now, 38% of Republicans and 62% of Democrats say the same.

A Third Expect Trouble Paying Bills Over the Next Month

A third say they will have trouble paying bills over the next month, and more than one in ten say they “definitely” will have trouble paying bills in that period of time.

  • Groups especially likely to say they will have trouble paying bills over the next month include 18-34 year-olds (46% will have trouble), Hispanics (45%), and those who have most recently worked a blue collar job (40%) or in the service industry (38%).

Two in Three Support Continuing Unemployment Insurance

A majority continue to support expanded unemployment benefits, including nearly half of Republicans.

  • Among those who support continuing expanded unemployment benefits, 58% say they would blame President Trump and Republicans in Congress more if the expanded payments were not renewed, versus only 24% who say they would blame Democrats in Congress more.

In an Engaged Debate, Majority Support Holds for Renewing Expanded Unemployment Benefits

A majority support renewing expanded unemployment benefits, including a third of Republicans and half of independents.

  • Among 2016 Trump voters, 34% support renewing expanded unemployment benefits.
  • Among those who know someone who has lost a job, 57% support renewing expanded unemployment benefits.

Best Reasons for Expanded Unemployment: Millions Need to Pay Bills, Should Not Be Punished for “Once-in-a-Lifetime” Pandemic

Top reasons for continuing expanded unemployment payments include the tens of millions who are using this money to pay bills and those who have lost their job due to once-in-a-lifetime circumstances.

Public Say Trump’s Response to Pandemic Hurt Economy, Disapprove of His Handling of Recovery

A majority say Trump’s approach to the pandemic has hurt the economy and disapprove of his handling of the economic recovery.

Congressional Democrats More Trusted Than Trump to Look Out for Working People, Respond to Economic Impact

Democrats in Congress hold a double-digit lead in trust over the president on looking out for people who work for a living and responding to the economic impact of the pandemic.

  • In the last month, there has been a net 9-point increase in the share who say they trust Democrats in Congress more to respond to the economic impact of the pandemic than Trump (from +3 on June 22 to +12 today).

Few Find Trump’s Economic Sales Pitch to Be “Very Convincing”

Only one in four find this statement “very convincing” – driven mostly by more than half of Republicans who find it “very convincing.”

  • The share of independents who say Trump’s past economic success is a convincing reason he can handle this economic recovery has declined by 14 points since May 25 (from 49% to 35%).

Top Concern on Trump Handling Economic Recovery: Ignoring Experts and Pushing to Reopen Too Soon

Americans are most concerned by Trump ignoring both health experts and economists on deciding to reopen too soon, giving bailouts to big corporations, and failing to support middle and working class people.

  • Among those mixed on Trump*, his ignoring of health experts and economists is the top concern.