Public Opinion on Public Health, the Economy, and Reopenings

Thursday, August 6, 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 1,001 registered voters conducted July 30 – August 3, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • About four in five rate the economy negatively, a high in Navigator tracking – and six in ten say it is still getting worse.
  • Two in three Americans continue to support expanded unemployment compensation up to $600 a week until January 2021.
  • A plurality says no professional sports leagues should be playing games right now, including the MLB specifically.

Vast Majority Rate Economy Negatively

Ratings of the economy are at their worst point in our tracking since May 7, with four in five Americans rating the economy as “not so good” or “poor.”

  • Two in three (66%) of Republicans rate the economy as “not so good” or “poor” as do 80% of independents.

Growing Share Say Economy “Getting Worse”

Three in five Americans say the economy is “getting worse,” up 9 points from June 16.

  • The share of both Republicans and independents saying the economy is “getting worse” is up 11 points since June 16.

Nearly Two in Three More Worried About Impact of Pandemic on Public Health than Economy

A majority remain more concerned about the impact of coronavirus on public health than on the economy.

  • On a separate question, 69% of Americans say the pandemic is causing them “a lot” or “some” stress.

Two-Thirds Continue to Support Expanded Unemployment Insurance

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

  • Among the 14% of Americans who have personally received unemployment compensation due to the pandemic, 82% support continuing this compensation until at least January 2021.

If Unemployment Expansion is Not Renewed, Trump and GOP Will Get Larger Share of Blame

A plurality would blame Trump and Congressional Republicans if expanded unemployment benefits are not renewed, with majorities saying Trump and Republicans oppose the expanded benefits.

  • Among those who have received unemployment compensation as a result of the pandemic*, 18% say they would blame Democrats in Congress, 48% say they would blame Trump and Republicans.

Pluralities Say Professional Sports Leagues – Particularly the MLB – Should Not Be Playing Right Now

More than two in five Americans says that no professional sports leagues should be playing right now, with nearly half of Americans saying that the MLB should stop playing games after recent events.

  • Among women, 51% say that the MLB should stop playing games, while only 41% of men say the same.

More Than Half Say Early Infections in MLB are Indicative of Danger of Reopening Schools, Loosening Social Distancing

When provided the context of more than a dozen players and employees testing positive for coronavirus in the MLB, a majority say it shows how dangerous reopening schools and other loosening of social distancing is right now.

  • Among parents, 53% say it shows how dangerous reopening schools is right now.