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

  • Half of Americans continue to disapprove of the way police have responded to recent protests; even more say the way the police operate in America needs to change.
  • The public opposes Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone, with nearly half describing it as “an abuse of power.”
  • A majority believe that Trump has committed a crime while president.

Majority Continue to Support Protests While Half Continue to Disapprove of Police Response

Consistently over each of the last five weeks, three in five support the protests following the death of George Floyd and about half disapprove of the job the police have done in responding to them.

  • Among independents, a majority (65%) support the protests and 54% disapprove of the police response to them.

Majority Say Change Is Needed in Way Police Operate

Only a third of Americans say no changes are needed to the way the police operate in America or are unsure – two in three Americans say some kind of change is needed, including 26% who say “very big change” is needed.

  • Among African Americans, 60% say that “very big change” is needed.

More Than Three in Five Have Heard About Trump Commuting Roger Stone’s Prison Sentence

When comparing recent new items, two in five say they have heard “a lot” about Trump commuting Roger Stone’s prison sentence, while roughly a third have heard of Russia’s bounty on American troops and Trump no longer receiving briefings from Dr. Fauci.

  • Among Republicans who watch Fox News, 38% have heard “a lot” about Trump commuting Stone’s sentence.

The Public Is Increasingly Familiar With and Unfavorable Toward Roger Stone

Since August 2018, the share who are familiar with Stone has grown by 22 points – and the share who are unfavorable towards Stone has grown 13 points.

  • Republicans are driving the share who are favorable toward Roger Stone, with nearly a quarter (23%) who are favorable. More specifically, among Republicans who watch Fox News, 32% are favorable toward Stone.

Public Opposes Stone Sentence Commutation, Says It Is “Corrupt” and an “Abuse of Power” By Trump

A majority oppose Trump’s decision to commute Roger Stone’s sentence and nearly half “strongly oppose.” Top descriptors of Stone’s sentence commutation by Trump are an “abuse of power” and “corrupt.”

  • Even a quarter (24%) of Republicans say it is an “abuse of power.”

Three in Five Believe Trump Has Committed a Crime While President

Since November 2019, the share who believe Trump has committed a crime as president has grown 4 points.

  • Likewise, fewer Republicans today say Trump has not committed a crime than in November 2019.

Congressional Democrats Hold Trust Advantage on Reducing Government Corruption

By 11 points, Democrats in Congress are more trusted than President Trump to reduce government corruption.

  • Democrats in Congress are more trusted by 8 points by independents to reduce government corruption.