State Policy Network
Coronavirus Poll, Wave 17: Election 2020, labor, schools

This summary shares Wave 17 data (August 20-21, 2020) of SPN’s and Heart+Mind Strategies’ bi-weekly coronavirus poll, which follows Americans’ reactions to the pandemic and its impact on health, education, economic wellbeing, and other key aspects of daily life.

Re-opening and the economy

Half of Americans see long-term economic implications of the virus, believing the impact will last one year or longer (50%, -2). [Q610]

However, the number of Americans who believe the health of American economy is good or excellent is up significantly from two weeks ago (33%, +5). [Q413]

Four out of five Americans (78%, -2) have changed their economic behavior due to the virus. [Q450]

Three out of five somewhat or completely agree the decision to re-open economies should reside with states, with one out of three Americans completely agreeing. [Q1225]

Sixty-one percent are extremely/very/somewhat concerned that expanded government powers—including declaring which businesses are essential and when and how people are allowed to leave their homes—will remain after the vast majority of the coronavirus threat has passed. [Q1230a]

More Americans favor a flexible over a strict approach to re-opening. [Q1245]

Government Spending

Fifty-three percent of Americans think states that have long been responsible with their budget should not have to pay more in taxes to bail out states that made poor, unsustainable financial decisions long before the coronavirus outbreak. Only 18% disagree with this statement, and 29% neither agree nor disagree. These numbers have been steady since May 20-21 when we first asked the question. [Q1251]

When it comes to solving revenue shortfalls and state budget concerns, the following recommendations are considered [Q1255]:

K-12 Education

Forty-seven percent of Americans (down from 50% on August 5-6, 2020) think that K-12 public school students who have to find alternative education options should receive their portion of the funding to pay for those alternatives. Twenty-five percent (up from 22% August 5-6) disagree that the money should follow the student. [Q1292]

When it comes to educating K-12 students, their parents think the following are important decisions and procedures for the 2020-2021 school year [Q1085c]:

Labor Issues

Sixty percent support teachers taking actions, such as strikes and sickouts, over COVID-19 safety concerns. Support is highest among Democrats (71%), and 56% of Republicans would support teacher action in the face of coronavirus safety concerns. [Q1291a]

There is less support (22% strongly support and 19% somewhat support) for teachers unions that use the strikes to negotiate other unrelated policy demands, such as moratoriums on new charter or voucher programs; moratoriums on standardized testing; tax increases on higher income individuals and businesses; and the cancellation of rents and mortgages. Twenty-eight percent oppose, while 31% neither support nor oppose or are not sure. [Q1293]

Americans are more likely to oppose unions receiving federal coronavirus relief funds than support it (39% oppose, 29% support).  [Q1296]

Just over one-third (37%) of Americans disagree that unions should be able to take federal tax dollars meant for coronavirus childcare relief as union dues. Slightly less than one-third (30%) believe the unions should be allowed to take dues from this money. [Q1294] Thirty-one percent are more likely to support a policymaker if they oppose the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for union dues and fees. Thirty-percent say it makes no difference, and 36% say they are less likely to support policymakers who oppose taxpayer dollars being used in this way. [Q1295]

Election 2020

Of likely voters, 42% (+4 from August 5-6) say they are likely to vote for Trump, while 44% (-5 from August 5-6) say they are likely to vote for Biden. Six percent say they are undecided, and three percent declined to answer. [Q1073]

When it comes to the 2020 General Election on November 3:

Twenty-eight percent are very confident and 15% are not at all confident that the 2020 General Election will be conducted fairly and with integrity. Thirty-one percent are somewhat confident, and 27% are just a little confident in the upcoming election process. [Q1298]

Download Wave 17 Polling Toplines

About SPN’s coronavirus polling

Since March 2020, State Policy Network and Heart + Mind Strategies have tracked American reactions and needs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. SPN shares these insights on a weekly basis to help nonprofit think tanks effectively communicate with their states about policies that will solve local problems in ways that truly meet their communities’ needs.

Organization: State Policy Network