UMCIP 2020 Demographic Report

Page 1

University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll with Nielsen Scarborough Study No. 7

ISBN: 978-1-7923-5231-7

Demographic Study of American Attitudes Before the 2020 Elections Shibley Telhami and Stella Rouse, Principal Investigators Importance of Healthcare Policy and Management of COVID-19 Varied Across Racial and Ethnic Lines Breakdown of those who said the issue is “very important” to their 2020 vote Management of COVID-19

Healthcare policy 50%

56%

White Black Hispanic Asian Total

77% 69% 55% 56%

78% 74% 66% 61%

Those who viewed the two issues as "very important" overwhelmingly backed Joe Biden Healthcare policy Donald Trump Joe Biden

Management of the coronavirus (COVID-19) Donald Trump

24%

20%

Joe Biden

64%

67%

A Majority of Americans, Especially Blacks and Hispanics, Said They Support BLM 83%

49%

White

Black

66%

Hispanic

53%

56%

Asian

Total

A Majority Across Ethnic and Racial Lines “Very Much” Wanted Political System Change 65%

83%

White

Black

78%

Hispanic

81%

69%

Asian

Total

Biden Dominated Among Those Who “Very Much” Wanted Political System Change Donald Trump Joe Biden

29% 57%

Most Americans, Especially Blacks, Said the Supreme Court was “Extremely Important" to Their Choice for President 57%

White

60%

Black

54%

Hispanic

57%

53%

Asian

Total

Biden Lead Among Those Who Said the Supreme Court was “Extremely Important” to Their Vote Donald Trump Joe Biden

42%

53%

1


Leadership for the Critical Issues Poll Shibley Telhami is the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, College Park, and nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Professor Telhami has also been active in the foreign policy arena. He has served as advisor to the US Mission to the UN (1990-91), as advisor to former Congressman Lee Hamilton, more recently as senior advisor to George Mitchell, President Obama’s United States Special Envoy for Middle East Peace (2009-2011) and as a member of the U.S. delegation to the Trilateral US-Israeli-Palestinian Anti-Incitement Committee. Professor Telhami has contributed to The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times and regularly appears on national and international radio and television. His bestselling book, The Stakes: America and the Middle East was selected by Foreign Affairs as one of the top five books on the Middle East in 2003. He has been a principal investigator in the annual Arab Public Opinion Survey, conducted since 2002 in six Arab countries. Stella Rouse is an associate professor in the Department of Government and Politics and director of the Center for 'HPRFUDF\ DQG &LYLF (QJDJHPHQW. Professor Rouse earned her Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in 2008. In 2010, she was a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender in the Social Sciences (REGSS) at Duke University as a Ford Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow. Rouse's book, Latinos in the Legislative Process: Interests and Influence, published by Cambridge University Press, was named by Huffington Post as one of the "Best Political Science Books of 2013." Her latest book, The Politics of Millennials: Political Beliefs and Policy Preferences of America’s Most Diverse Generation, with Ashley D. Ross, was published in August 2018. &RRUGLQDWRU DQG $QDO\VW %ULWWDQ\ .\VHU 3URJUDP &RRUGLQDWRU DQG ([HFXWLYH $VVLVWDQW IRU WKH $QZDU 6DGDW &KDLU IRU 3HDFH DQG 'HYHORSPHQW &RRUGLQDWRU IRU WKH 8QLYHUVLW\ RI 0DU\ODQG &ULWLFDO ,VVXHV 3ROO AnalysW: :LOOLDP %LVKRS Doctoral 6WXGHQW in the Department of Government and Politics $QDO\VW (OLQ %HUOLQ 'RFWRUDO 6WXGHQW LQ WKH 'HSDUWPHQW RI *RYHUQPHQW DQG 3ROLWLFV

2


Demographic Analysis of Attitudes on Critical Issues Preceding 2020 Elections Divides along Racial, Age, Gender, and Household Income Lines

As numerous polls probed the prospects of candidates leading up to the 2020 presidential election, we sought to dig more into the demographic differences in the United States on critical issues that have been central to American public life and go beyond just the election itself. To that end, we carried out our largest poll to date of 3,932 respondents among Nielsen Scarborough’s probability-based online panel, spanning the Democratic and Republican national conventions. The large sample enabled us to breakdown different segments of the American public with a higher degree of confidence. We probed a range of timely issues, including attitudes toward racial justice, the Supreme Court, and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. But we also probed other issues that could provide clues to the public outlook, such as the need for political and economic system change – issues that our pre-2016 election deemed important, and which had led us to pen an article a week before that election, noting that, while Hillary Clinton led, there were indications suggesting Donald Trump had a chance of winning the presidency. Before diving into the demographic breakdown, including differences and similarities across racial and ethnic lines, and also variation in age, gender, and household income, we analyzed how respondents were planning to vote based on their opinions on key issues. Among those who said that healthcare policy is “very important” to their vote in 2020, 64% said that they would be voting for Joe Biden compared to less than a quarter (24%) who were planning to vote for Donald Trump. When asked the same question about management of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we see similar numbers with 67% saying that they would vote for Joe Biden compared to only 20% for Donald Trump.

3


A Look at the Nation Through the Lens of Race and Ethnicity In the latest Critical Issues Poll, we looked at the very timely issue of the Supreme Court and its importance to peoples' vote in 2020. Sixty percent of Blacks said that this issue is "extremely important" to their vote, which was at a higher rate to that of other racial and ethnic groups. In addition, Blacks were also more likely to say that management of coronavirus (COVID-19) is "very important" to their vote compared to other groups. Looking at the American economic system, Blacks more often than other racial and ethnic groups said that they wanted significant change. In line with this, Blacks also found most issues, including those on economic issues, "very important" to their vote in 2020 more so than other racial and ethnic groups, with the exception of immigration policy, where a higher percentage of Hispanics said this is "very important" (57%). Not surprisingly, significant gaps existed between Blacks and other racial and ethnic groups, especially Whites, on issues of police brutality, the recent protests and marches over this brutality, and systemic racism. Racial and ethnic disparities existed on issues surrounding the Department of Homeland Security as well as Black Lives Matter.

4


Economic Change in Light of the 2020 Election

More than half (55%) of all respondents said that they wanted significant change to the American economic system “very much”. Minorities were more likely to choose this option, compared to Whites (81% of Blacks, 71% of Hispanics, and 53% of Asians versus 47% of Whites). In addition, a majority across racial and ethnic lines said that they want significant change to the American political system “very much.” Eighty-three percent of Blacks, 81% of Asians, 78% of Hispanics, and 65% of Whites said this. Overall, 69% of Americans said this. Among those who want “very much” political system change, Biden dominated with 57% selecting this as their preferred candidate in the 2020 election compared to only 29% for Donald Trump. We saw racial and ethnic divides when we asked about which issues were important to peoples’ votes in 2020, especially when those issues are related to economic factors, such as minimum wage, college education/tuition, paid family leave, job growth, and federal deficit. For minimum wage, 64% of Blacks answered that this is a “very important” issue to their vote, compared to only 22% of Whites, and for college education/tuition, 59% of Blacks said it’s “very important” compared to only 16% of Whites. The gap between Blacks and Whites on the issue of college education/tuition is striking and perhaps reflective of bigger issues in the country such as household income, school resources, and affordability of college in the United States.

5


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Overall, 61% of respondents said that management of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is “very important” to their vote in 2020. However, while most people are concerned about the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the lead up to the 2020 election, some groups considered it a bigger issue affecting their vote than others. For instance, 90% of Blacks said that management of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is either “very important” or “somewhat important” to their vote this

6


election, while Whites were 14% less likely to rate the coronavirus (COVID-19) as an important issue to their vote.

Furthermore, a majority of people (56%) said that they are either “very unsatisfied” or “somewhat unsatisfied” with the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus (COVID19). Only 22% are “very satisfied” with the response and this group is overwhelmingly represented by White respondents (27%). Blacks (70%) and Asians (67%) were most likely to say that they are “very unsatisfied.”

7


Fifty-seven percent of the respondents said it is most important to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) before reopening the economy, and 42% said reopening the economy should be a priority. Whites are evenly split between reopening the economy and containing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), while Blacks (78%), Hispanics (72%), and Asians (71%) overwhelmingly said that containing the spread is a precondition for reopening the economy.

8


The Supreme Court Not surprisingly, the Supreme Court was a prioritized issue for people when voting in 2020 even before the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. This is also an issue where we see that a fairly even divide between different racial and ethnic groups. Overall, 57% of respondents said that it is an “extremely important” issue. In fact, more people answered that the Supreme Court is “extremely important” to them than any of the other options provided, which included party loyalty, genuinely agreeing with their preferred candidates’ policies, voting to support President Trump and his agenda, and voting against President Trump and his agenda. Looking specifically at Blacks, they were more likely to answer that a vote against President Trump and his agenda was “extremely important” (77%) compared to the other issues provided.

Among respondents who said that the Supreme Court is “extremely important” to their choice for president, 53% were in favor of Joe Biden compared to 42% for Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Revolutionary Change Another question posed to respondents, which has also been asked in our previous polls, is about change to the political system. Asians (59%) and Blacks (58%) were more likely than Whites (37%) and Hispanics (50%) to say that our political system needs revolutionary change. Whites were more likely to say that our political system needs change, but that it should be gradual, with 46% answering this way compared to 37% of Blacks. Whites (17%) were more likely to say that they are generally comfortable with our political system whereas only 4% of Blacks, 9% of Hispanics, and 6% of Asians said the same.

9


When we compared these results to those from our October 2016 poll, which was conducted before the 2016 presidential election, we see changes across racial and ethnic lines. For example, in 2016, Whites were more likely to say that we need revolutionary change (52%) compared to 46% of Whites, 43% of Hispanics, and 32% of Asians (and 49% total). This could likely be attributed to the large number of White Trump supporters in 2016 who wanted political change and are now less likely to desire it after four years of their preferred presidential candidate in office.

10


“Our System is Rigged Against People Like Me” Seventy-two percent of Blacks said that they either “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” with the statement “our system is rigged against people like me.” Whites were least likely to agree (48%) whereas majorities of other racial and ethnic groups agreed: 57% of Hispanics and 58% of Asians. A slight majority of Whites either strongly or somewhat disagreed (51%) with the statement and only slightly more than a quarter (26%) of Blacks disagreed, along with 43% of Hispanics, and 42% of Asians. Again, in comparison to 2016, 67% of both Whites and Blacks said that they either “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” that “our system is rigged against people like me” compared to 49% of Hispanics and 75% of Asians.

Racial and Ethnic Differences and Similarities on Issue Importance In addition, we see racial and ethnic divides when asking about the importance of non-economic issues to peoples’ votes in 2020. Across the board, Blacks were more likely to say that the following issues were “very important” compared to other racial and ethnic groups: healthcare policy, gun policy, military and veterans’ affairs, criminal justice policy, campaigning for other politicians who demonstrate empathy, management of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and racial justice. However, on immigration policy, Hispanics were more likely than all other groups to answer that this is “very important.” Fifty-seven percent of Hispanics said that this issue is “very important” compared to 52% of Blacks, 47% of Whites, and 31% of Asians. Not surprisingly, Blacks are more likely to answer that racial justice is “very important” (83%) compared to

11


Whites (36%). The same trend is seen when the question is about criminal justice policy, with 76% of Blacks saying it’s “very important” compared to only 39% of Whites.

One area that Blacks care about more than other groups that is striking is gun policy. One would assume that Whites would be more likely to answer that this issue is “very important,” especially since Whites are more likely to say that they "personally own a gun" or they "don't own a gun but someone else in their household does." However, in our poll, 58% of Blacks answered that gun policy is “very important” compared to only 44% of Whites.

12


Racial Discrimination In this poll, we had such a large sample size (3,932) and expansive selection of questions that we were able to look closely at the breakdown of racial and ethnic attitudes on issues surrounding race. As is to be expected, there is a big divide on racial issues when examined through the lens of race and ethnicity. This was especially timely as this summer witnessed a large wave of protests over the killing of unarmed Blacks, such as George Floyd who was killed on May 25th in Minneapolis. These killings and the protests and demonstrations that ensued meant that racial issues, including police brutality, were at the forefront of Americans’ minds, allowing us to gauge these attitudes in real time in our poll. Analyzing Challenges in the United States A large majority of Blacks (84%) as well as majorities of Hispanics (61%) and Asians (62%) were more likely to say that systemic racism in policing is the bigger challenge in the United States today compared to vandalism and violence during protests. On the other hand, a majority Whites (58%) were more likely to say that vandalism and violence during protests is the bigger challenge.

13


Racial Discrimination in our Society When asked what describes their attitude about racial discrimination since the tragic death of George Floyd, Blacks (61%) were more likely to answer “I have come to believe that there is more racial discrimination in our society than I had previously assumed” than Whites (34%), Hispanics (46%), and Asians (31%). Asians were more likely to answer that “my views about racial discrimination have been confirmed but not substantially affected” with 63% answering this way compared to 46% of Whites, 34% of Blacks, and 44% of Hispanics. Small percentages across all racial and ethnic groups answered that “I have come to believe that there is less racial discrimination in our society than I had previously assumed,” with Whites being the most likely group to select this option (16%). Police Brutality and Systemic Racism Respondents were provided with statements that they could either agree (strongly/somewhat, neither agree nor disagree, or disagree (strongly/somewhat) with. Blacks (83%) were almost twice as likely as Whites (43%) to agree that “the recent protests and marches over police brutality are necessary and justified.” When asked about the statement “systemic racism exists throughout American society,” an overwhelming majority of Blacks (91%) agreed compared to only slightly more than half of whites (56%). Majorities across the board agreed with the statement “police departments need to be significantly overhauled in order to ensure fairness in law enforcement policies” though only a slight majority of Whites agreed (53%) compared to a large majority of Blacks (88%). Furthermore, most Blacks (90%) agreed that “Congress should

14


prioritize passing laws that focus on law enforcement reform” as did three quarters of Hispanics, 65% of Asians, and 57% of Whites. Sympathy for Protests and Marches Not surprisingly, Blacks were more likely to sympathize with the recent protests and marches over police brutality – 71% of Blacks said they sympathize “very much” at more than twice the rate of Whites (29%). Less than half of Hispanics and Asians (44% for both) sympathized “very much” with the recent protests and marches. Whites (38%) were more likely to sympathize “not at all” compared to 21% of Hispanics, 24% of Asians, and only 5% of Blacks. The perception of how peaceful the marches have been is also divided along racial and ethnic lines: Blacks were largely more likely to say that “the marches have been mostly peaceful with only sporadic and limited protest or violence” with 73% answering this way compared to about half that of Whites (37%). Whites (62%) were more likely to respond that “the marches have been marked by a high degree of protest or violence” whereas only a quarter of Blacks answered this same way.

Police and Black Communities A racial divide also exists in how people view the police in their communities. Blacks were least likely to say that they are “very confident” or “somewhat confident” that police in their community treat white and black people equally (21%). Forty-five percent of Hispanics answered that they were confident compared to majorities of Whites (60%) and Asians (54%) who were. A majority of whites (60%) were either “very confident” or “somewhat confident” that police in their community are adequately trained to avoid the use of excessive force compared to 32% of Blacks and 45% of Hispanics who were; half of Asians were confident.

15


We saw significant differences in the responses of Blacks when asked if they think the recent killings of unarmed black people by police are isolated incidents or a sign of broader problems in the treatment of black people by police. Nine percent of Blacks said these are isolated incidents compared to 47% of Whites, 26% of Hispanics, and 38% of Asians. A large majority of Blacks said it’s a sign of broader problems (84%) compared to less than half of whites (45%); majorities of Hispanics (64%) and Asians (59%) also gave this response.

We also saw a major difference in the responses of Blacks when asked if they think police in most communities treat black people better than white people, treat white people better than black people, or treat both white and black people equally. Eighty-six percent of Blacks said police treat “white better than black” as did 64% of Hispanics and 60% of Asians. Less than half of Whites (48%) said this. Only 11% of Blacks said that police “treat equally” compared to 47% of Whites, 31% of Hispanics, and 39% of Asians. A small percentage of respondents across all racial and ethnic groups said that Blacks are treated better than Whites.

Protests and Marches for Racial Justice Blacks were more likely to have participated in the recent protests and marches for racial justice than other racial and ethnic groups: 18% of Blacks, 14% of Hispanics, 7% of Asians, and 6% of Whites said that they participated. Across the board, majorities of all racial and ethnic groups had the impression that the marches have been very diverse with whites constituting majorities in multiple protests: 77% of both Blacks and Whites, 68% of Hispanics, and 69% of Asians said this.

16


President Trump and the Recent Protests/Marches When asked about the way President Trump has handled the recent protests/marches, 44% of Whites either “strongly approved” or “somewhat approved” compared to only 12% of Blacks, 28% of Hispanics, and 21% of Asians. Majorities of all groups expect for Whites (49%) either “strongly disapproved” or “somewhat disapproved”: 81% of Blacks, 65% of Hispanics, and 70% of Asians. Department of Homeland Security When asked, “As you may know, the Trump administration asked the Department of Homeland Security to confront protestors under the justification of protecting federal buildings, and fighting crime in various Democratic-led American cities starting with Portland, Oregon. What is your view of those actions?,” fifty percent of Whites said they either “strongly supported” or “somewhat supported” these actions compared to only 13% of Blacks, 35% of Hispanics, and 39% of Asians. Blacks were more likely to say that they either “strongly opposed” or “somewhat opposed” the Department of Homeland Security actions (74%) compared to 42% of Whites and slight majorities of Hispanics (53%) and Asians (57%).

17


In addition, Whites (51%) were more likely to say that the new role of the Department of Homeland Security as exhibited in Portland, Seattle, and Chicago is the right use of the DHS compared to only 16% of Blacks, 35% of Hispanics, and 36% of Asians. Racial Unity However, despite the differences seen above between racial and ethnic groups, there are still some areas where Blacks and Whites, and other racial and ethnic groups, agreed. A majority of all racial and ethnic groups said that the reaction of their local police to the marches was either “somewhat appropriate” or “very appropriate.” Seventy-six percent of Whites, 54% of Blacks, 68% of Hispanics, and 75% of Asians responded this way. When asked about the federal response to the marches, we saw majorities saying that the federal response was either “not at all appropriate” or “somewhat inappropriate”: 51% of Whites, 74% of Blacks, 61% of Hispanics, and 55% of Asians answered this way. Whites (86%) were slightly more likely to say that use of DHS armed personnel for the purposes demonstrated in Portland, Seattle, and Chicago puts us on a path away from democracy and toward fascism compared to 79% of Blacks, 82% of Hispanics, and 85% of Asians who said this. An area where saw unanimity is peoples’ impression of the marches in comparison to marches over racial issues in recent years. Here majorities of all racial and ethnic groups said that the current protests have been larger and more sustained than previous marches: 78% of Whites, 72% of Blacks, 72% of Hispanics, and 85% of Asians answered this way. We also saw majorities of all racial and ethnic groups believing that there will be “a lot” or “somewhat” of a

18


lasting impact from the ongoing protests and marches in the way blacks and other minorities are treated (56% of Whites, 67% of Blacks, 63% of Hispanics, and 60% of Asians).

19


Black Lives Matter Blacks were, not surprisingly, more likely to view the Black Lives Matter movement as “strongly favorable” or “somewhat favorable” (82%) than other racial and ethnic groups- Asians were split with half viewing it as favorable and half viewing it as unfavorable, Whites were almost split with 51% viewing it as unfavorable and 47% viewing it as favorable. Hispanics were more likely to view it as favorable (65%) compared to only 33% who viewed it as unfavorable.

When asked whether they support or oppose Black Lives Matter, again we saw a large percentage of Blacks supporting it (83%) compared to only 15% who opposed it. Whites and Asians were about split in their views whereas two-thirds of Hispanics supported it (66%). In comparison to a Pew Research Center survey from September 8-13, 2020, 55% of U.S. adults expressed at least some support for the movement, which was down from 67% in June. Also, “the share who say they strongly support the movement stands at 29%, down from 38% three months ago.” According to Pew’s September survey, 45% of Whites, 87% of Blacks, 66% of Hispanics, and 69% of Asians said they strongly or somewhat support the Black Lives Matter movement.

20


21


What the Age Differences tell us about the Current State of American Politics We also found age group divides on the importance afforded to salient political issues, as well as opinions towards the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Throughout the summer, young people disproportionately took to the streets to protest police brutality and racial injustice. Compared to their older peers, young people were placing a greater emphasis on issues related to racial justice when deciding their vote preference in 2020. More than half (56%) of respondents between the ages of 18-24 viewed racial justice as “very important” to their vote, compared to 40% of respondents between the ages of 45-54. Additionally, despite being at a lower risk for health complications resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19), younger people were most dissatisfied with the Trump administrations’ handling of the outbreak. Sixty-five percent of people between the ages of 18-24 were either “somewhat unsatisfied” or “very unsatisfied” with the steps taken by the Trump administration, compared to 56% of people ages 65 and older. As the virus rages on throughout the country, nearly three quarters of young people between the ages of 18-24 (71%) supported delaying the reopening of the economy to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), compared to 56% of people ages 65 and older. More than half of people between the ages of 18-24 (56%) considered racial justice to be “very important” to their electoral choices in 2020. Older respondents, however, placed less of a priority on this issue. Respondents between the ages of 45-54 were least likely to view racial justice as “very important” (40%). Respondents who say racial justice is “very important” to their vote in 2020

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65+

Total

56% 48% 43% Very Important

40% 43% 47% 45%

22


Recent polling from Pew Research Center finds that more than 60% of Americans favored making tuition at public colleges free, with the greatest support coming from younger voters. In this poll, we found that younger voters placed the greatest emphasis on issues related to college education and tuition. Not surprisingly, 40% of voters between the ages of 18-24 considered college education/tuition to be “very important” to their vote in 2020, followed by 36% of voters between the ages of 25-34. Not surprisingly, a smaller percentage of older adults, who are likely no longer in college or paying student loan debt, saw this issue as important to their vote choice. Respondents who say that college education/tuition is “very important” to their vote in 2020

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65+

Total

40% 36% 31% Very Important

24% 19% 15% 26%

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Across the various age groups, management of the coronavirus (COVID-19) was similarly important for respondents' votes this year. Overall, 61% of respondents said that the management of coronavirus is “very important” in determining their vote. Despite being at higher risk for complications related to coronavirus (COVID-19), older voters did not seem to be placing a higher priority on virus management than younger ones. Sixty-five percent of voters over the age of 65 considered the issue to be “very important” compared to 64% of voters between the ages of 18-24. When considering the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), most people are “very unsatisfied,” and most unsatisfied of all is the youngest age group (18-24). Although, the majority of all respondents were very dissatisfied with the administration’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response, members of the older age groups were more likely to say that they are either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the response. Twenty-nine percent of those 65 and older are “very satisfied” with the administration's performance, and people ages

23


45-54 were most likely to say that they are either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the response (42%).

How satisfied are you with the Trump administration’s response to the Coronavirus? 18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65+

Total

65% 58%

56%

54%

56% 56%

50% 42% 41% 32%

40% 35%

28% 24%

Very or somewhat satisfied

Very or somewhat unsatisfied

When comparing respondents’ views of the media coverage of the coronavirus (COVID-19), there were significant differences depending on the age groups. The older age groups (55-65 and 65+) were more likely to say that their impression of the coronavirus (COVID-19) from the media that they follow is “mostly accurate” or “somewhat accurate.” The group that sticks out the most are the respondents 65 and older, 66% said that media coverage has been either “mostly accurate” or “somewhat accurate,” this is 12% higher than the average for all age groups (54%). When asked which is closer to your view, containing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) or reopening the economy, the youngest age group (18-24) was more likely to prioritize containing the spread of the virus over prioritizing reopening the economy (71%). This is especially interesting since many report that the economic effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a greater negative impact on the younger generations. A recent study conducted by Pew found that people in the age group 18-29, are more likely to have taken a pay cut and/or been laid off or lost their job. Still, the youngest respondents said that they prioritize the spread of the virus over reopening the economy. Overall, 57% of respondents stated that it is most important to contain the spread of the virus as a precondition to reopening the economy. The group that favored reopening the economy the most were the respondents between the ages of 45-54 where we saw 48% of respondents in this age group saying that reopening the economy should be a priority, even as we continue to work on controlling coronavirus (COVID-19).

24


Which of the following is closer to your view It’s most important to contain the spread of Coronavirus as a precondition for reopening the economy Reopening the economy should be a priority even as we continue to work on controlling Coronavirus 18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65+

Total

71% 60%

56% 51%

54% 56%

57% 44% 39%

48%

45%

42% 42%

28%

Contain spread

Reopen the economy

The Supreme Court Fifty-seven percent of respondents across all age groups stated that the Supreme Court is an “extremely important” issue for their vote this year. However, older Americans (65+) were most likely to state that the issue is “extremely important” (66%). This is quite surprising given that this is the group least likely to feel the long term effects of the Supreme Court. Interestingly, the youngest age group (18-24) also sticks out as 56% reported the Supreme Court as being an “extremely important” issue for them this year. This relatively high number among young people is likely due to the increased attention given to the Supreme Court surrounding the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. According to some studies, younger generations were less likely to support Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and the hearings raised a lot of media attention. As previously noted, this survey was conducted prior to Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s passing, however, Justice Ginsberg has received significant positive attention from the younger generations for a long time. With her failing health, it is likely that the Supreme Court was already at the top younger age groups’ minds.

25


The Gender Gap between American Men and Women When comparing the responses of women and men, we see significant gender gaps on issues that are not traditionally viewed as gendered. For instance, women were more likely to have favorable views of the Black Lives Matter movement and the recent protests. More than half of women reported that they think systematic racism exists throughout American society and more women than men agreed that the recent protests and marches over police brutality are necessary and justified. Additionally, women (31%) were twice as likely as men (15%) to rate paid family leave as “very important” to their vote this year. This is likely due to the impact that unpaid care work has had on women throughout our society and the drastically increased burden on women during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. More women have left the workforce over the past few months than men in order to care for family members, making the issue of paid family leave especially salient. Additionally, women rated healthcare issues such as healthcare policy and management of the coronavirus (COVID-19) to be of higher importance than men. One reason for the gender split on healthcare could be that women’s health has been at the center of many of the policy changes that came with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and many women have seen direct positive outcomes due to the implementation of the ACA. With the Trump administration’s attack on the ACA, healthcare policy is likely a more salient issue for women during the 2020 election cycle. Not surprisingly, we also saw gender gaps on current issues facing the country. When asked about the importance of issues in the 2020 election, and looking at those who answered “very important” to some issues, we also saw variance along gender lines. Minimum wage was another area that saw women rating the issue as “very important” at almost twice the rate of men (40% of women, compared to only 21% of men).

26


While not double the response rate, a large gap also existed on the issue of healthcare policy between men and women who ranked this is as “very important”: 48% of men said it’s very important and 64% of women did.

Criminal justice policy was another area where a wide gap existed between men and women who considered this to be “very important” to their vote in 2020: 53% of women and 39% of men said it’s “very important.”

27


Management of coronavirus (COVID-19) and racial justice are two other issues where gender gaps exist: 56% of men said that management of COVID-19 is “very important” and 67% of women did; and 35% of men and 56% of women said that racial justice is “very important.”

28


Coronavirus (COVID-19) While most respondents overall reported that they are “very unsatisfied” with the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), women are more unsatisfied than men. Sixty percent of women said that they are either “very unsatisfied” or “somewhat unsatisfied,” while 51% of men said the same. Forty percent of men said that they are either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied,” while only 30% of women said the same.

29


Household Income Gap In terms of income, lower income earners gave more weight to paid family leave, coronavirus (COVID-19) management, and health care concerns when asked about voting in 2020. Sixtythree percent of earners making less than $30K said paid family leave was either “very important” or “somewhat important” to their vote compared to 40% of earners making between $100-150K. Lower wage earners have suffered greatly throughout the pandemic with many being laid off and losing their health insurance. It was unsurprising that these individuals were most concerned with virus management and healthcare policy. Sixty-nine percent of people making less than $30K said coronavirus (COVID-19) management is “very important” to their vote choice in 2020 compared to 56% of earners making between $100-150K. A similar percentage of earners making less than $30K (66%) said healthcare policy is “very important” to their vote, compared to 49% of earners making more than $100K. Income and Paid Family Leave When looking at family leave policy through the prism of income, we saw found some stark differences between those who rate the issue as “very important” or “somewhat important.” Those from the lowest income bracket (less than $30K) (34%) and those earning between $3050K (29%) were more likely to rate the issue as “very important,” whereas only 13% of those in the $100-150K income bracket and 15% of those earning more than $150K rated the issue as “very important.” The correlation between income and importance of paid family leave could be due to the fact that employees in higher income brackets have employee sponsored paid family leave, or can afford to take time off to care for a family member.

30


Coronavirus (COVID-19) There were also a differences across income among those who rate the management of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as an important issue for their vote in 2020. Sixty-nine percent of people who earn $30K or less said that the issue is “very important� to their vote compared to 56% of those in the $100-150K income bracket. This is likely due to the financial impact that the coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on the world, and particularly those who were already financially vulnerable. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), people living in poverty has increased dramatically in the U.S.

31


Additionally, people with lower incomes were more likely to be “very concerned” that they or someone in their immediate family will contract the virus. However, when combining those who are “very concerned” and “somewhat concerned,” we found that there is a fairly even split between the various income brackets. Seventy-three percent of those making $30K or less and 76% of those in the highest income bracket ($150+K) said they are either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned.”

Healthcare Policy Those who fall into the two lowest income brackets (less than $30K and $30-50K) were more likely to say that healthcare policy is “very important” to their vote in 2020. While those in the upper half of the income brackets were less likely to say that it is “very important.” This could be due to the fact that people with higher incomes have higher rates of employee sponsored health insurance, whereas some in the lower income brackets rely on other forms of insurance such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

32


The Supreme Court Fifty-seven percent of respondents across all income brackets rated the Supreme Court as an “extremely important� issue to their vote in the 2020 election. This was fairly evenly distributed, with the highest income bracket (64%) sticking out as being above the average and, therefore, more likely to rate the issue as very important.

33


CONCLUSION The last four years, and in particular the last eight months, have highlighted stark contrasts across race, gender, age, and class on issues important to Americans. In particular, race relations and the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) have had a disproportionate impact on specific segments of society and this is reflected in their opinions about topics such as the pandemic and civil unrest related to the treatment of Blacks at the hands of police. Furthermore, these differences are also revealed in how members of particular groups rate the importance of issues influencing their vote choice in 2020. Our Critical Issues Poll found large gaps between Whites and Blacks on a number of topics. For example, Blacks overwhelmingly view the recent protests and marches against police brutality as justified, compared to less than half of Whites who express the same sentiment. Along the same lines, most Blacks believe that systemic racism exists throughout American society, compared to just over half of Whites. Given these distinct differences in opinions about the justification of protests and marches for racial justice and the presence of systemic racism, it is of little surprise that almost two-thirds of Blacks believe the political system is rigged against them. Additionally, more women than men and more young people than older people also believe that systemic racism exists in America. Blacks, women and young people, were more likely to say that they disapprove of the way President Trump has handled the protests and marches and that racial justice is important to their vote choice in 2020. Perhaps as a reflection of their strong disapproval, Blacks were more likely than other groups to say that a vote against President Trump and his agenda was extremely important to their vote choice. Health concerns and the economy also reveal differences across demographic categories. Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, women, young people, and lower wage earners were more likely to say that it is more important to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) before reopening the economy. These same groups are also more likely to be dissatisfied with the way the Trump administration has handled the pandemic and to view the coronavirus (COVID-19) as an important issue in their 2020 vote. Finally, issues related to the economy are also important to similar segments of the American population and are likely tied, at least in part, to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Minimum wage, paid family leave, and college education/tuition are also viewed as very important to the 2020 vote choice of racial and ethnic minorities, women, young people, and lower wage earners.

34


Methodology (August 2020) The survey was carried out August 18-28, 2020 online from a nationally representative sample of Nielsen Scarborough's probability-based panel, originally recruited by mail and telephone using a random sample of adults provided by Survey Sampling International. The poll was conducted among a national poll of 3,932 respondents, with a margin of error of +/- 1.56%. Overall, the sample was adjusted to reflect population estimates (Scarborough USA+/Gallup) for Americans. The survey variables balanced through weighting were: age, gender, race/ethnicity, household income, level of education, census regional division, and political party affiliation. **On questions of race/ethnicity, we took out the category of “other” in our graphs and analysis, however, the full results including those of racial/ethnic “others” can be found in our questionnaire.** Note: Percentages may not always add to one-hundred due to rounding.

To view the full questionnaire for this poll, please click here. For more information, please visit: criticalissues.umd.edu

35