Public Opinion on Coronavirus: Navigator Update

Thursday, September 3, 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 1,007 registered voters conducted August 27 – 31, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • Majorities support protests focused on the treatment of Black Americans as well as the decisions by sports teams to boycott their games in protest of Jacob Blake’s shooting.
  • More Americans are concerned about those close to them getting infected with coronavirus, though two in five are more concerned about the risk posed to them by the rise in crime.
  • Though Americans are largely not noticing increases in crime in their own communities, the vast majority say crime has increased in the United States in the last year.

Vast Majority are Hearing At Least Some About the Shooting of Jacob Blake By a Police Officer

More than three in four are hearing “a lot” or “some” about the shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer.

  • Hispanic Americans (81%), Democrats (84%), and Black Americans (86%) are hearing the most about the shooting of Jacob Blake.

Majorities Support Recent Protests and Sports Teams Striking to Protest Jacob Blake’s Shooting

Three in five support the protests focused on police treatment of Black Americans following the death of George Floyd, and more than half support the decision by sports teams to boycott games following Jacob Blake’s shooting.

Americans More Personally Concerned About Coronavirus Than Crime

More than half are more concerned about coronavirus infecting them and those close to them, while two in five are more concerned about the risk that the rise in crime around the country poses to them and those close to them.

  • Republicans are most likely to be more concerned about the rise in crime around the country (56%), while Democrats are most likely to be concerned about infection from coronavirus (71%).

While Most Believe Crime is Increasing, They Do Not See It in Their Local Communities

While nearly three in four believe there is more crime in the United States than there was a year ago, more than two in five believe the amount of crime in their local community has not changed in the last year.

  • Republicans (80%) and African Americans (74%) are most likely to say there has been an increase in crime in the United States in the last year.

Among Those Who Perceive an Increase in Crime, Most Believe President Has a Role to Play

When asked about the role the president plays in local and national crime, a plurality say that the president can play an important role, while less than a third say the president has little to do with crime.

  • While more Republicans say crime has increased in the U.S. or their community in the last year (81%) compared to Democrats (68%), more Democrats say the president plays a role in handling crime (49%) than Republicans (35%).

Majorities Agree with Criticisms of the President’s Handling of Crime

More than half agree with statements saying Trump is blaming others for crime increasing, he can’t be trusted due to crimes committed within his own administration, and he is exploiting the increase in crime as a re-election scare tactic.

  • More than two in five (45%) “strongly agree” Trump is too busy blaming others and tweeting about crimes.

Democrats in Congress Hold Slight Advantage Over Trump on “Reducing Violent Crime”

Democrats in Congress hold a 4-point advantage over Trump on “reducing violent crime in America.”

  • Among suburban voters, Democrats in Congress hold a 10-point advantage over the president (51% Democrats in Congress/41% President Trump).

Trump Holds No Advantage Over Democrats on “Protecting Law and Order”

Americans continue to be split on their views of who they trust more to protect “law and order.”

  • Over time, the share who say they “do not know” on this metric has declined significantly, from 23% September 2018 to 9% now, while the margin has remained static.