Americans from both sides of the political spectrum support immediate action in response to public health and economic crisis
US voters overwhelmingly and enthusiastically support aggressive action by Congress and the President to address both the public health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19, according to a new poll released by Oxfam America and Data for Progress released today. The poll showed high support for paid sick leave for all workers, emergency funding for food supplies for those affected by the crisis, free testing for the virus, and moratoriums on evictions, foreclosures, and utility shutoffs.
The national poll, conducted over the last four days by Data for Progress, shows that public support is both overwhelming–greater than 70 percent—and bipartisan for measures that directly help working people cope with the crisis. Even voters who identified as “very conservative” showed majority support for emergency cash payments, waiving copays for coronavirus treatment, and increasing federal funding for Medicaid. Public support drops noticeably, however, for policies that prop up large businesses affected by the crisis.
“In the face of this dangerous pandemic, Congress should focus on protecting workers and the most vulnerable, not bailing out giant corporations,” said Abby Maxman, Oxfam America’s President. “The pandemic is quickly revealing how many working families were already struggling to stay afloat, living paycheck to paycheck. Americans want to prevent them from falling into bankruptcy, homelessness, and hunger. It's not the time to hand over blank checks to corporations.”
The poll shows that 86 percent of voters support free access to coronavirus testing, vaccination and care for every American. In addition, 86 percent of voters support strengthening unemployment assistance especially for workers who depend on tips, gig workers, domestic workers and independent contractors. And 85 percent of voters support an immediate moratorium on evictions, foreclosures, and utility shut offs. Just 54 percent of voters support low interest government loans for oil and gas companies. While voters across ideological, racial, and age divides support more ambitious government actions than Congress has passed, there are some notable trends. In particular, women indicate stronger support for aggressive action.
“As in many crisis situations, women face disproportionate hardships,” added Maxman. “They are the primary caregivers of children, the elderly, and the ill, and being confined in the home increases chores and stress. We know from long experience that domestic violence spikes in these times. In addition, women are on the front lines of this crisis as nurses, doctors, personal aides, cleaners.”
"It's obvious to anyone following current events that we need strong and decisive legislation that actually meets the unprecedented scale of the coronavirus crisis,” said Jason Ganz, CTO of Data for Progress. “This report confirms that not only is an aggressive response the right thing to do - doing so also has overwhelming support from the American people."
The poll suggests that there is pent-up demand for action that will have longer term benefit for the country and address longstanding drivers of inequality and economic insecurity. Seventy-four percent of voters, including 67 percent of voters who identify as “very conservative” support making economic stimulus programs automatic when the unemployment rate reaches a certain level. In addition, 80 percent support providing paid sick, and family and medical leave for all workers, not just those directly affected by coronavirus.
“Americans know that we cannot sit back and watch as the pandemic devastates the most vulnerable and flattens our economy. While Congress recently passed legislation that mandated paid sick leave, it excludes 80 percent of workers. We must do better,” concluded Maxman. “Congressional leaders need to put ideology aside and focus on protecting families and preventing economic collapse.”