The results of our just completed national survey of 1,000 likely voters (+/-3.1% at 95% C.I. taken March 23rd to 26th), compared to last month's survey, shows the dramatic impact of the coronavirus national emergency upon American voters. Based on our historic polling experience, this movement of national voter opinion is an equivalent to the effects of 9-11 and the 2008 economic crisis combined.
—Most dramatically, last month only 19% said that our economy was in recession. Now almost half of all voters, 44%, say that the economy is in recession. Last month 51% of all voters said that the economy was getting better and only 37% said that it was getting worse. Now 64% of all voters say the economy is getting worse and only 28% say it will get better.
—For a lot of voters an economic shutdown is an immediate and dire personal financial crisis. Almost one in four voters, 22%, cannot afford to be out of work for less than a month. Among all voters one third, 35%, say that they cannot afford to be out of work for a month or less. The number of voters who cannot be out of work for even a month is 42% among Democrats, 35% among independents and 29% among Republicans. This rises to 49% among Hispanics, 45% among African Americans, and it increases to 56% among voters who are under 30 years old. Among working age voters who are under 55 years old it's even more dire, 50%, say that can't afford to be out of work for a month, but it's only 13% among those over 55 years- because among the over 55 voter age group 62% say that they are retired.
—Once the virus emergency abates, American voters want the economy to restart almost immediately. With so many voters facing an immediate personal economic crisis, after the coronavirus emergency subsides, half of all votes, 50%, think the economy needs to be restarted within a month - even one third, 33%, say less than a month. The sentiment for restarting within the month goes across the board by party - Republicans 54%, Democrats 46% and independents 51%.
—However, at the time of this poll, as the counts of those infected by coronavirus are increasing, a majority, 52%, prefer a full national shutdown, requiring everyone to stay at home except for essential businesses. In contrast, 38% prefer requiring testing of all people for coronavirus infection and isolating only those who test positively that they have the coronavirus. Sentiment for a national shutdown prevailed over every region of the country. Shutdown over testing and targeted isolation was even preferred by those who cannot afford to be out of work for a month or less 53% to 41%. In urban areas they favor shutdown 52%-40%; suburban areas 49%-41% and in small town/rural areas 57%-30%. Voters under 55 years old preferred the shutdown 55%-38% and voter over 55 years preference for shut down fell to 47%-39%.
—However, American voters appear to be optimistic in their view of policies for the developing a coronavirus vaccine, the president's economic plan for direct cash payments and subsequent payroll tax cut, and a possible plan for state and local health departments to reopen businesses like restaurants and hotels.
Two thirds of all voters, 66%, approve speeding the development of a coronavirus vaccine allowing people the right to try a vaccine by suspending efficacy test requirements, which can take up to a year, and allowing mass distribution of a vaccine once safety tests are done. Only 19% disapproved this idea. Approval for speeding a vaccine was popular across all partisan lines Republicans 78%, Democrats 61% and independents 60%; as well all regions of the country and all demographic segments.
Three quarters of all voters, 77%, favor putting money back in the hands of Americans by sending a $1,200 check to every adult who earns less than $100,000 and an additional $500 per child per family; followed by a tax cut to preserve jobs by suspending the payroll tax for all businesses and workers for the rest of the year over, 16%, who favor increasing spending for entitlement programs like unemployment, food stamps paid sick leave and Medicaid. This almost five to one support for direct cash payments followed by a payroll tax cut extends across every region, political party and demographic voter group.
Two thirds of all voters, 65%, approve a plan, as the coronavirus pandemic subsides, by state and local health departments to create a plan to reopen businesses like bars and restaurants, bars and hotels to reopen under controlled circumstances by checking the temperature of their staff every day, and checking the temperature of every customer that comes into their business, and for bars and restaurants to resize their service areas to provide more physical distance between customers. Only 27% disapproved. Once again strong majority for this policy would extend across all party, demographic and regional voter segments.
The majority of American voters approve of the job the president is doing handling the coronavirus situation , 53% approve and 45% disapprove. In the battleground states, 55% approve and 43% disapprove of the president's handling of the coronavirus emergency. Besides Republicans giving the president near unanimous approval 88%-11%, Independents approve 47%-48% and 25% of the Democrats approve. Among the traditionally Democratic leaning voter groups, Hispanic voters, 44%, approve and among African American voters, 34%, approve.
The president's overall job approval has improved from 47% approve and 52% disapprove last month, to 49% approve and 50% disapprove this month. It is clear that the president's very polarized ratings are being elevated by the job he's doing during the national emergency. In the battleground states, the president's overall job approval has improved from 48% approve and 51% disapprove last month, to 51% approve and 48% disapprove this month. This improvement included an approval increase among African Americans from 8% to 23%.
The current coronavirus national emergency is renewing support for President Trump's message to change Washington. The number of voters who want the president to continue to fight to change Washington has increased to 56% saying yes vs. only 32% who say no. Republicans give the president near unanimous support for changing Washington 90%-5%. Independents want change 50%-32%, and 28% of the Democrats support change. Among Hispanic voters 43% want change and among African American voters 35% want the president to change Washington.
In contrast these trend results did not change:
—Last month 41% of Americans though the United States was headed in the right direction and only 55% said wrong track. This month is 41% right direction and 54% wrong track. Republicans and voters who approve of Trump's job are holding up the right track number 77%-19% and 77%-17%, respectively.
—Last month the Democrats had a slight national lead over Republicans on the generic ballot for Congress 47%-45%, but Republicans led in the battleground states 48%-45%. This month Democrats have a slight national lead over Republicans on the generic ballot for Congress 48%-45%, but Republicans led in the battleground states 47%-46%.
—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remains disliked by the majority of voters. Last month she had a 56% unfavorable rating to only 35% favorable rating. This month it is 37% favorable to 55% unfavorable.
—The strong majority of voters prefer free market capitalism over big government socialism 62%-13%. Last month it was 61%-12%.
The most i.mportant finding of this new national poll shows that the majority of voters support the president for his handling of the coronavirus national emergency at one of the most difficult times in American history.
Link to poll results:
John McLaughlin has worked professionally as a strategic consultant and pollster for over 35 years. During this time he has earned a reputation for helping some of America’s most successful corporations and winning some of the toughest elections in the nation. His political clients have included former Presidential candidates Steve Forbes and Fred Thompson, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and 22 current and former U.S. Senators and 21 current Republican members of Congress. Their firm currently polls for the Trump Pence re-election campaign. In 2016, John worked as an advisor and pollster for Donald Trump from the primaries through Election Day. Their firm currently polls for the Trump Pence re-election campaign.
Jim McLaughlin is a nationally recognized public opinion expert, strategic consultant and political strategist who has helped to elect a U.S. President, Prime Ministers, a Senate Majority Leader, and a Speaker of the House. Jim has worked for over 70 members of Congress, 14 U.S. Senators, 10 governors, numerous mayors and scores of other elected officials. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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