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Tags: payroll | pelosi | pandemic

Poll Data: Americans More Worried About Health Than Economy, Oppose Socialism

us president donald trump during a white house coronavirus briefing in washington dc
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic in the press briefing room of the White House, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

John McLaughlin By and Thursday, 23 April 2020 01:59 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

The first wave of findings from our just completed national survey of 1,000 likely voters (+/- 3.1% at 95% C.I. taken between April 16 and 20), show more fully the dramatic extent of the unprecedented change in American voter public opinion due to the coronavirus great pandemic.

Coronavirus health concerns are now the dominant most important issue among four in 10 voters with 22% wanting to stop the spread of the virus, and 19% wanting to create a coronavirus vaccine as most important. Economic issues are secondary to immediate health fears as the most important concern to only one in four voters and only 11% say that to reopen the economy is most important.

The majority of voters, 58%, now say that the country is on the wrong track, while those saying the country is headed in the right direction has fallen to 38%.

Over the past two months the number of voters who say that the economy was in recession was only 19% in February. The number saying America is in recession rose to 44% in March, and now it’s 56%. Over the same time back in February the majority of voters, 52%, thought that the economy was getting better to only 39% who said it was getting worse. However, in March it reversed to only 28% better and 64% worse. This month it is only 29% saying the economy is getting better, and 65% say it is getting worse. We've never seen such a radical shift among American voters.

With this shift towards economic pessimism, there is also shift away from smaller government to more support for bigger government. Last month most voters favored smaller government with fewer services, 47%, and 38% favored bigger government with more services. This month it narrowed more to 45% favoring smaller government to 41% for bigger government. After decades of tracking this question, this is the closest that we have ever seen these opinions. Democrats and liberals favor bigger government 54% to 28% and 62% to 24%, respectively. Republicans favor smaller government 60% to 31%. Conservatives favor smaller government 63% to 27%. Moderates give the edge to smaller government 43% to 37% and so do independents 48% to 37%. The size of government is now an important partisan and ideological debate.

However, the majority still decisively prefers free market capitalism over big government socialism 59% to 17%. However, Democrats are nearly evenly split in their party with a plurality, 36%, saying capitalism and 29% preferring socialism. The debate within the Democratic Party over the virtues of capitalism vs. socialism is very real among Democrats and should be an important factor when deciding to vote for any Democratic candidate this year. As unprecedented as many of these opinions are, it is totally unprecedented that by electing Democratic candidates from the largest party in the country, voters will be undoubtedly be electing candidates who support socialist policies.

While the voters are looking to the federal government for solutions to the Great Pandemic, there is a paradox that they still favor free market capitalist policies.

Three free market capitalist proposals that we tested, cutting the payroll tax, asking investors to bond to pay for the current stimulus and increasing tax deductions for meals, are all very popular across the board with partisan and ideological voter segments.

When the voters were asked in order to save and create jobs, would they approve or disapprove of suspending the payroll tax for all businesses and workers for the rest of the year, they approved 67% to 20%. Voters who approve the job the president is doing, approve of the payroll tax cut 77% to 15%, and so do voters who disapprove the job the president is doing 59% to 24%. Approval is bipartisan with Republicans supporting the payroll tax cut 77% to 17%; Democrats approve 62% to 21% and independents approve 63% to 22%. Conservatives approve of the payroll tax cut 70% to 20%. Moderates approve 67% to 20% and liberals approve 64% to 19%. African Americans approve 61% to 20%. Hispanics approve 62% to 24%. There would be very broad voter support for President Trump’s proposal to save jobs by cutting the payroll tax for businesses and workers through the end of the year.

In order to finance the recently passed multi-trillion stimulus program, the voters approve the federal government issuing 100-year bonds with a coupon of two and half percent to attract long term investors instead of having to raise taxes in the short term 68% to 11%. This solution also cuts across partisan political and ideological divides.Voters who approve the job the president is doing, approve of the 100-year bond 74% to 11%, and so do voters who disapprove the job the president is doing 63% to 12%. Approval is bipartisan among Republicans who support the long-term bond 76%% to 10%; Democrats approve 62% to 12% and independents approve 63% to 12%. Conservatives approve of the 100-year bond 70% to 11%. Moderates approve 67% to 12% and liberals approve 65% to 11%. African Americans approve 64% to 9%. Hispanics approve 53% to 18%.

In order to stimulate restaurants to re-open and re-hire their workers, two-thirds of the voters, 63%, approve of the president’s proposal to increase the business tax deduction for meals from 50% to 100%. Only 21% disapprove. This is another policy that cuts across partisan political and ideological divides. Voters who approve the job the president is doing, approve of the full deduction for meals 70% to 18%, and so do voters who disapprove the job the president is doing 56% to 24%. Approval is bipartisan with Republicans supporting full deductions for meals 70%% to 19%; Democrats approve 57% to 22% and independents approve 62% to 22%. Conservatives approve of full meal deductions to create jobs 64% to 21%. Moderates approve 60% to 23% and liberals approve 65% to 19%. African Americans approve 49% to 32%. Hispanics approve 59% to 24%. It is very clear that Americans understand this tax deduction will be needed to save businesses and jobs and once the shut down is over they will be ready to go out.

With smart guidelines and precautions, the majority of voters will be ready to re-open parts of the country for business. A two-thirds voter majority, 65%, would be in favor of re-opening businesses after May 1in those parts of the country where the numbers of hospitalizations and intensive care admissions were significantly decreasing and there is universal testing. Only 27% were opposed. The majority favored this approach in every region of the country: East 57% to 33%; Midwest 67% to 26%; South 68% to 25% and West 64% to 27%. Those who approve the job the President is doing, favor this policy 85% to 11% and the plurality of those who disapprove of the job he’s doing, also favor 47% to 42%. Independents favor 67% to 24%. Moderates favor 59% to 31%. 41% of African Americans favor and 57% of Hispanics favor this policy.

Changing Washington remains a constant message that helps the president and defines his populist appeal. The majority among voters, 51%, still want President Trump to continue to fight to change Washington; only 38% are opposed. Voters in the battleground states want the president to change Washington 52% to 36%. Those who are undecided for Congress want President Trump to change Washington 45% to 21%; independents want change 52% to 33%; men want to change Washington 59% to 34% and women want change 44% to 40%.

The president’s overall job approval in the face of the Great Pandemic remains virtually unchanged. It was 48% this month and 49% from last month. It's very significant that with the challenges he faces, President Trump is holding his solid base. Republicans approve 87% and conservatives approve 82%. The president’s opposition remains partisan and ideological. Democrats disapprove 88% and liberals disapprove 74%. Independents are split with 50% approve and 48% disapprove.

Almost identical to the president’s job approval, his specific job approval for handling the coronavirus situation is 49%. Among African Americans it is 18% which is 6 points higher than his overall job approval and 39% among Hispanics, 3 points higher than his overall rating.

Regardless of the changes in overall political outlook the generic ballot for Congress remains very close 46% say that they would vote for the Democratic candidate for Congress; 45% say they would vote for a Republican and only 8% are undecided. In the battleground states the Republicans lead 46% to 45%. Voters who approve of the job that President Trump is doing, vote Republican 84% to 9% and conversely those who disapprove of the president vote Democratic 81% to 10%. The two political parties are equally polarized with Republicans voting for the Republican for Congress 95% to 4% and the Democrats voting for the Democrat 94% to 4%. Independents give the Republicans a slight edge 40% to 37% who vote for the Democrats. There is a significant gender gap with men supporting the Republican 52% to 42% and women supporting the Democrat 50% to 39%.

Nancy Pelosi remains a huge liability for the Democrats. Among all voters she is only 39% favorable and 53% unfavorable. Independents are two to one unfavorable with only 31% favorable and 60% unfavorable. Among voters who are undecided for Congress only 16% are favorable to Pelosi and 62% are unfavorable. Only 40% of men are favorable and 54% are unfavorable. Among women it’s almost the same with only 38% favorable and 51% unfavorable.

Although America faces an unprecedented crisis the voters do not see a loyal opposition working with the president.

Years ago we advised our friend Stephen Harper to run for the leadership of Canada’s leading opposition party. The future Prime Minister won election to be the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition party in Canada, and he defined their loyal opposition. During the Iraq War another opposition leader that we previously advised and helped him win his party’s primary Iain Duncan Smith of the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party demonstrated the meaning of The Loyal Opposition. In a time of crisis when Labour’s Prime Minister Tony Blair led Britain to join the United States to remove Saddam Hussein, Iain Duncan Smith traveled to Washington to meet with President George W. Bush and tell him that he would support Prime Minister Blair to keep Britain united as America’s ally.

However, at this time of crisis in America, opposition is no longer a loyal opposition and the voters see political attacks on the president as inappropriate. When the voters were told that Democratic superpacs which support Joe Biden are running tens of millions of dollars in negative political ads attacking the president, the plurality of voters 48%, think it is inappropriate during a national emergency. Only 38% say it is appropriate. 76% of Republicans say it’s inappropriate; 52% of independents to 34% say it’s not right, and 20% of Democrats say that it’s inappropriate too.

Voters clearly see the attacks on President Trump as politically motivated for partisan election gain. Related to the partisan division, the plurality of voters, 49%, agreed with the statement "The Democrats and liberal national media are trying to move the blame for the spread of coronavirus away from China to President Trump for partisan political gain just to win the November elections"; only 42% disagreed. Republicans overwhelmingly agreed 80% to 15%. Independents agreed 47% to 43% and even 22% of Democrats agreed.

The plurality of voters, 48%, say that too many of the media’s coverage of President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus emergency has been unfair, biased and even disrespectful to the president. Only 42% say that the media has been fair, unbiased and always respectful to the president. Republicans say the media is unfair, biased and even disrespectful 81% to 15%; independents agree 50% to 41% and even 15% of the Democrats agree. Among all voters 56% egularly watch President Trump’s coronavirus task force briefings. Among these voters who regularly watch the briefings, 59% to 37% they say that the media is unfair, biased and disrespectful. While those who do not regularly watch the briefings only 34% say the media is unfair and 51% say that they are fair. The briefings are showing the bias and disrespect of members of the media towards the president.

As we forecast in our previously published March national survey, American voter opinions are moving rapidly into new trends that are being defined by the Great Coronavirus Pandemic.

These trends will define our future for years to come.

Tomorrow we will have our second wave of findings on national unity, China, and the coronavirus, trade and manufacturing.

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. 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. Read Jim McLaughlin's Reports — More Here.

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As we forecast in our previously published March national survey, American voter opinions are moving rapidly into new trends that are being defined by the Great Coronavirus Pandemic.
payroll, pelosi, pandemic
Thursday, 23 April 2020 01:59 PM
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