Public Opinion on Coronavirus: Navigator Update

Tuesday, September 22, 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 1,000 registered voters conducted September 19-21, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • A majority say the election winner should nominate Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement.
  • Mitch McConnell is unpopular and a majority oppose him bringing a nominee for a vote in the Senate before Election Day.
  • The most convincing reasons to delay confirmation until after the election are prioritizing the pandemic response and Senate Republicans pushing through a Justice after refusing to hold hearings for Obama’s nominee.

In Ruth Bader Ginsburg, America Loses Beloved Figure

Nearly two in three Americans have a favorable view of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with almost half saying they have a “very favorable” view.

  • A majority of Democrats (82%) and independents (53%) have favorable views of Ginsburg, as do a plurality (41%) of Republicans.

By 20-Point Margin, Americans Want Winner of November Election to Pick Ginsburg’s Replacement

A majority say whoever wins the election in November should be responsible for nominating a replacement, rather than that Trump should nominate a replacement immediately.

  • Fewer than a third of independents (31%) think Trump should immediately nominate a replacement.

Democrats in Congress Hold Advantage Over Trump in Putting the Right People on the Supreme Court

Democrats in Congress are more trusted than Trump to put the right people on the Supreme Court by double digits.

  • Independents are largely undecided (45% don’t know) on who they trust more to handle the issue of putting people on the Supreme Court.

McConnell is Deeply Unpopular and Plurality Oppose Him Bringing SCOTUS Nominee for Vote

A near-majority of Americans oppose McConnell bringing Trump’s nominee for a Senate vote, and McConnell’s personal popularity is underwater by 24 points.

Progressives Clearly Win Back and Forth Debate Over Timing of SCOTUS Pick

By a 15-point margin, more agree since Obama’s nominee was not considered in 2016 since it was an election year, no hearings should be held for Trump’s pick either – while just one in three say the vacancy should be filled right away.

  • A third of independents (31%) are undecided.

Among Persuadables, Distraction from Pandemic is Most Convincing Reason to Wait Until After Election for SCOTUS

Opposition to Pre-Election SCOTUS Nomination Grows After Messaging

Before hearing arguments for waiting until after the election to confirm a new justice, there is a 5-point advantage in the share who say it would be wrong for the Senate to hold a vote on Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court before the November election. After, there is an 18-point advantage that “it would be wrong.”

The Affordable Care Act Weighs Heaviest On the Minds of Americans Thinking About Court Rulings

While the Affordable Care Act is a top issue across party lines for Americans in terms of how the Court decides future cases, other issues like racial justice and immigration are more divided by partisanship.

  • Democrats’ top issues are the ACA and racial justice, while Republicans’ are gun laws and immigration.