Washington, D.C. — A new poll from the Center for American Progress, in partnership with GBAO Strategies, shows that there is strong bipartisan support for policies that will help provide short-term relief for Americans navigating the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as long-term investments to strengthen the social safety net and many other poverty alleviation policies. Notably, two-thirds of voters believe it is more important for the federal government to invest in ensuring basic living standards for all people than it is to reduce its spending to address budget deficits.
The poll also asked voters about their own economic situation, and roughly one-quarter of American voters responded that their personal economic situation is worse than it was before the pandemic, with more than a third reporting that their family’s income is failing to keep up with the cost of living, indicating wide-reaching economic distress.
Key poll findings include:
- Strong majorities of voters across party lines view access to clean water, a quality public education, adequate and nutritious food, and safe affordable housing as basic human rights that should be ensured by the federal government.
- Overall, 72 percent of voters across the political spectrum—86 percent of Democrats, 71 percent of independents, and 57 percent of Republicans—support increasing the level of food assistance provided via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to ensure that those who need help keeping food on the table do not run out of benefits and adequate food before the month is over.
- A majority, 65 percent, of voters across partisan lines—including 76 percent of Democrats, 64 percent of independents, and more than half of Republicans—support increasing the child tax credit and providing an extra boost for families with children under the age of 5 to help them make necessary investments during the critical early years of life.
- Nearly 7 in 10 voters across the political spectrum want the federal government to step in to help state governments hit hard by the pandemic in providing assistance to those in need.
- More than 6 in 10 voters across party lines also support policies that would keep people in their homes during the pandemic, including increased rental and mortgage assistance, a moratorium on evictions during the pandemic, and direct housing payments to landlords or banks to prevent evictions or penalties for low-income families.
- A strong majority, 74 percent, of voters across party lines—including 84 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of independents, and 63 percent of Republicans—favor requiring employers to provide paid sick time.
- A strong majority, 71 percent, of voters across party lines—including 86 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of independents, and 58 percent of Republicans—believe it’s time for a national paid family and medical leave program so that workers receive partial pay when significant time off is required to recover from a serious illness or injury, to care for a loved one with longer-term care needs, or to welcome a new child.
- A majority of American voters support tying increases to unemployment benefits to current economic conditions, rather than arbitrary dates determined by Congress, to help people facing job loss meet their basic needs during economic crises such as the current pandemic.
- A majority of voters support increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and extending the minimum wage to include groups such as tipped workers and workers with disabilities.
- A majority, 62 percent, of American voters support expanding the earned income tax credit, the governmental income support program for working people, to include up to $1,500 per year for low-income people without children.
“The country cannot truly ‘recover’ from this crisis unless it supports people who have been excluded from prosperity both before the pandemic and now,” said Alexandra Cawthorne Gaines, vice president of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress. “These findings show that voters, regardless of political party, have a clear mandate: Congress and the new administration must advance policies that will both provide both immediate relief and alleviate poverty and decrease economic precarity over the long term, so we can build a country with broad-based prosperity.”
These findings represent the views of more than 2,000 registered voters, and the poll was conducted online from February 2 to February 7, 2021. The overall sample was weighted to reflect nationally representative demographic and geographic targets based on census and other voting data.
The current research marks the continuation of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at CAP and GBAO’s ongoing examination of public attitudes on poverty dating back to 2013. The new survey confirms many of the major findings of this earlier work, highlighting broad-based support across partisan lines for government actions that ensure that all people have access to good jobs and are able to meet basic needs such as housing, education, and health care.
Read the report: “Americans Want the Federal Government To Help People in Need” by John Halpin, Karl Agne, and Nisha Jain
For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Julia Cusick at gro.ssergorpnacirema@kcisucj.