Center for American Progress

RELEASE: New Poll Shows a Majority of Voters Have Had A Serious Economic Hardship in the Past Year
Press Release

RELEASE: New Poll Shows a Majority of Voters Have Had A Serious Economic Hardship in the Past Year

Washington, D.C.- A new poll from the Center for American Progress, Health Care for America Now in partnership with GBAO Strategies finds that everyday Americans are still being squeezed economically despite rosy-sounding headline statistics like the unemployment rate. The poll finds that a huge swath of voters are struggling economically, with more than half reporting that they or their family faced a serious personal economic hardship over the past year. Additionally, the poll finds overwhelming bipartisan opposition to cutting food assistance, as President Trump issued a rule that it estimates will strip nearly 700,000 struggling workers of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits, with voters preferring to see the program expanded. The poll was conducted between October 10 and 15, 2019 and represents a demographically representative sample of 2,000 registered voters.

Key findings from the poll include:

  • More than half of voters faced serious economic problems last year, such as trouble finding a good-paying job, having enough money to buy food, or falling behind on rent or mortgage payments
  • Large majorities of voters across party lines support federal government action to reduce poverty and ensure all people have access to basic economic necessities, such as food and housing
  • Large majorities of voters across party lines oppose cuts to federal nutrition assistance programs—such as SNAP, which the Administration has proposed cuts to three times in the past year—and instead want political leaders to focus on creating better jobs with higher wages.
  • Beyond strong opposition to cutting food assistance, the poll finds overwhelming majority support (62 percent) for expanding the SNAP to make benefits more adequate for families struggling to put food on the table
  • Voters view Trump’s 2017 tax law extremely unfavorably, with most reporting no benefit from the law. 73 percent of voters said their tax bill has either not been reduced or actually gone up following the enactment of the President’s signature legislation. Additionally 82 percent, either disapprove of or have no opinion of the tax bill. On the flip side, large majorities of voters across party lines support increasing taxes on the wealthy.
  • Majorities of voters across party lines are aligned in opposition to cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
  • Health care access and affordability dominate voters’ priorities list for 2020, while President Trump receives his lowest job approval ratings on issues of health care and poverty.
  • Strong majorities of voters across party lines back specific policy proposals to expand health care, curb prescription drug costs, invest in infrastructure, boost tax credits for low-income families, and raise the minimum wage.

“This poll clearly shows that our economy is one in which many people are struggling to make ends meet, said Alexandra Cawthorne Gaines, vice president of the Poverty to Prosperity program at the Center for American Progress “Any country in which more than half of people are facing serious potentially life-altering financial crises,is one in which the economy isn’t working for its people.”

“This poll makes clear that the Administration’s cuts to SNAP are not only heartless, but they also fly in the face of what voters of all political stripes want,” said Rebecca Vallas, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. “What’s more, overwhelming majorities of voters don’t just oppose cuts to SNAP, but want to see the program’s meager benefits expanded to ensure they’re enough to help families afford nutritious food throughout the whole month. The American people are clear on what they want their leaders to pursue: It’s time we moved past debating whether to cut SNAP and focused on how to expand this vital program.”

For more information or to speak to an expert contact, Julia Cusick at or 202-495-3682.