Welcome to Pollapalooza, our weekly polling roundup.
Poll(s) of the week
All eyes have been on Congress this week as Republicans and Democrats have worked feverishly to hammer out another COVID-19 economic relief bill. As of Thursday afternoon, it looked like the sides were coming together on a roughly $900 billion package that would provide funding to struggling businesses, extend unemployment benefits and send checks to individual Americans — but not protect businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits or bail out local governments.
What the COVID-19 vaccine means for political battles to come
If and when the stimulus bill passes, it should be popular with the American public. According to a YouGov/CBS News poll conducted Dec. 8-11, 86 percent of registered voters approved of Congress “passing an additional economic relief package that would provide funds to people and businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.” That support cut across party lines, too: 94 percent of Democrats, 85 percent of independents and 79 percent of Republicans all said they approved of such a package.
In fact, Americans are so desperate for congressional action on the coronavirus that they would support a relief package that doesn’t send them each a personal stimulus payment — something past polls have found extremely popular. However, support for such a bill was significantly lower than for the one described by YouGov/CBS News: Registered voters supported it 63 percent to 37 percent, according to a Dec. 3-7 poll from HarrisX/The Hill. That’s looking pretty hypothetical at this point, though: Congress is likely to pass some form of stimulus payments this time around (though they are likely to be only $600 per person, not $1,200 as in the spring).
Unsurprisingly, Americans remain worried about the economic impact of the pandemic. According to FiveThirtyEight’s tracker of such polls, 53.1 percent of Americans say they are very concerned about the coronavirus’s effect on the economy, and 32.6 percent say they are somewhat concerned.
But recent news — not just the likely passage of another stimulus bill, but also the rollout of what looks like a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine — may lessen the intensity of their concern. Some Americans seem to have switched from the “very concerned” camp to the “somewhat concerned” camp in our tracker over the past couple weeks, driven largely by this week’s Ipsos/Axios poll in which “only” 48 percent of adults said they were either extremely or very concerned about an economic collapse.
The country may also be feeling more optimistic given the upcoming presidential transition. Morning Consult/Politico’s poll this week asked registered voters whom they trusted more to handle the economic recovery following the coronavirus: 52 percent said President-elect Biden, while 38 percent said President Trump.
And other polls this week suggest that Americans do not want the current stimulus bill to be the government’s last action to address the crisis. For example, in the latest installment of Navigator Research’s regular tracking poll on the coronavirus, 65 percent of registered voters chose the pandemic as one of the top four issues they want Biden and the new Congress to focus on in January — by far the highest share of any issue. In second place, with 48 percent, is “jobs and the economy.”
Other polling bites
- The Kaiser Family Foundation has launched an ongoing project, the COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor, which uses polls and focus groups to track Americans’ feelings about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Its initial findings are that 71 percent of Americans would get the vaccine if it is available at no cost and if scientists deem it safe — but that Republicans and Black adults are especially skeptical of getting vaccinated. That jibes with other recent polling on the topic, as FiveThirtyEight’s Perry Bacon Jr. wrote in this space last week.
- Having served just one term as president, Trump is reportedly flirting with a comeback attempt in 2024. A new Fox News poll this week, however, finds little appetite for this idea: Only 37 percent of registered voters said they’d like him to run for president again, while 57 percent said they would not. However, 79 percent of Trump voters and 71 percent of Republicans did want him to run again, suggesting he may not encounter much resistance within his own party.
- Political engagement was through the roof this year, as shown not only by the record-setting turnout numbers but also by this new poll from the Pew Research Center. Pew found that, over the past six months, 53 percent of 2020 voters also engaged in one of six political activities listed, such as expressing support for a candidate on social media (36 percent), donating money to a candidate or outside group (25 percent) or working or volunteering for a political campaign (5 percent).
- A different Pew poll quantifies what we’ve all long suspected: People almost never pick up calls on their cellphones from unknown numbers. Only 19 percent of adults told Pew they did so, while 80 percent let it go to voicemail.
- After 105 years as the “Indians,” Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team announced on Monday it would retire the controversial moniker after the 2021 season. A YouGov poll conducted quickly thereafter found that 49 percent of MLB fans supported the name change, while 45 percent opposed it. In addition, Republican adults (not just MLB fans) said 59 percent to 21 percent that they did not want the name to be changed, perhaps explaining why Trump seized on the renaming as an example of “cancel culture” in a tweet.
- ’Tis the season for holiday-themed surveys. In YouGov’s latest “North Poll” (please direct all hate mail to YouGov; we didn’t come up with the name!), 75 percent of Americans said they had been nice this year, while 13 percent said they had been naughty. A full 73 percent also approved of the way Santa Claus was handling his job, while only 10 percent disapproved.
According to FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracker,1 43.6 percent of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 52.5 percent disapprove (a net approval rating of -8.9 points). At this time last week, 43.3 percent approved and 52.4 percent disapproved (a net approval rating of -9.1 points). One month ago, Trump had an approval rating of 44.8 percent and a disapproval rating of 52.0 percent, for a net approval rating of -7.2 points.