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PollerCoaster: What Voters Want in Biden's First 100 Days

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Crooked Media has partnered with Change Research to conduct a series of polls. You can view the complete crosstabs here, and see more insights here.


WHOM WE POLLED

  • Crooked Media and Change Research surveyed 1742 registered voters nationwide from January 22 to 23 to find out what people want President Biden and Congress to get done. A full summary of the survey’s methodology is here.

PRIORITIES: COVID, COVID, COVID

  • People’s top three priorities for the Biden Administration are controlling the virus, distributing the vaccine, and getting economic relief.We asked people their priorities in the form of an open-ended question, and then as a list of options from which they could choose three:

  • Some…notable discrepancies:
    • In the open-ended question, Trump voters were more likely to say Covid was their top priority than anything else. In the multiple-choice question, the top priority for Trump voters was voter fraud (53%).
    • In the open-ended question, the debt and deficit was mentioned only 8 times (not 8% – 8 people out of 1701). In the multiple-choice question, Trump voters chose debt and deficits as their 2nd highest priority (27%) after voter fraud.

BIDEN’S AGENDA IS EXTREMELY POPULAR

  • 69% of voters support Biden’s American Rescue Plan – including 4 out of 10 Trump voters. The plan was described to voters as a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package that would distribute the vaccine more quickly, provide $1400 to individuals, increase unemployment benefits, require paid leave, subsidize childcare, create 100,000 public health jobs, provide rental aid and small business aid, and more. Only 26% of voters oppose the plan, and among Trump voters, support rises to 52% in households with incomes under $50,000.
    • Should Democrats go big or bipartisan? It depends on how you frame it. Half of the respondents were asked whether it’s more important for Democrats to pass a bill with all of their priorities and no Republican support, or a bill with fewer priorities that wins bipartisan support. The other half were asked whether it’s more important for Democrats to pass a bill with more relief and no Republican support, or a bill with less relief and bipartisan support.The results were completely different. Voters prefer a package that “provides more relief” to one with Republican votes by a 46% to 38% margin. But they’d rather have Democrats compromise on their priorities than get all of their priorities by a 64% to 27% margin. When we frame this fight as about whether Democrats are winning or losing, the public is overwhelmingly against us. When we frame it as about whether the American people are winning or losing, the public is with us.
  • 55% of voters support raising the minimum wage to $15 – including nearly 1 in 5 Trump voters. Among Trump voters with household incomes under $50,000, support rises to nearly 1 in 3 voters.
    • ATTN Joe Manchin & Kyrsten Sinema: 53% of voters support ending the filibuster if Republicans use it to block raising the minimum wage to $15. Without mentioning a specific issue, 49% support eliminating the filibuster, and 40% are opposed. Among Biden voters, 75% support eliminating the filibuster, which is lower than their support for many other Democratic priorities. Clearly, it’s better to tie the debate over the filibuster to issues like the minimum wage that have tangible effects on people’s lives.
  • 55% of voters support Biden’s proposal to forgive $10,000 worth of student loan debt, and 52% support progressive Democrats’ proposal to forgive $50,000 in student loan debt. Not surprisingly, opponents of debt forgiveness were overwhelmingly Republican and independent (6% of those who opposed forgiveness at both levels were Democrats). Once again, support is far higher among less affluent Trump voters: they support student loan forgiveness by over 35 net percentage points more than Trump voters making $100,000 or more.
  • 65% of voters support the democracy reforms in the For the People Act – including 35% of Trump voters. The bill was described as one that would end dark money in politics, end partisan gerrymandering, automatically register citizens to vote if they’re eligible, expand in-person early voting, make voting by mail simpler, and enhance election security with a paper trail for every ballot.
    • But, Democrats need to do better communicating why reform is important. When voters were asked what they thought the Biden administration’s top priorities should be, only 8% selected these types of voting reforms. They were barely mentioned in the open-ended question (5 mentions of the filibuster, 1 mention of the Supreme Court, 2 mentions of DC Statehood), and a smaller percentage of people prioritized policies that would expand voting (8%) than people who prioritized going after voter fraud (26%).
  • If Mitch McConnell obstructs Biden’s agenda, it will anger twice as many people as it will please. If McConnell and Republicans block Democrats from passing any laws regardless of what those laws do, it will make 58% feel negatively (32% angry, 22% frustrated, 4% sad) and just 29% feel positively (12% happy, 11% relieved, 5% excited). Even among Trump voters, 24% would feel negative feelings and 52% would feel positive ones. In other words, the political price Democrats will pay for bending to Republican obstruction is far greater than the price they’ll pay for changing the rules to pass their extremely popular agenda.

MAGA MEDIA HAS RADICALIZED ITS AUDIENCE 

  • Only 9% of Trump voters believe Biden got more votes. News sources are a major driver of belief in this falsehood. Just 3% of those who watch OAN or Newsmax acknowledge that Biden won the popular vote. 17% of those who watch Fox News but do not watch OAN or Newsmax say he won more votes, and 25% of those who consume at least one mainstream source, but do not watch Fox, OAN, or Newsmax say he did. (“Mainstream” here excludes those who named sources like radio or online news sites, since those can obviously include fringe sources.)

    • There’s room for things to get worse. There are still consequential numbers of Trump voters who support Biden’s policies, acknowledge some basic facts, oppose the insurrection, and disavow QAnon. That means that if OAN and Newsmax win over even more Fox viewers — or if Fox lurches farther right to keep their viewers around — things could get worse. And needless to say, despite the popularity of Biden’s policies across the electorate, the best way to win Republican primary voters’ hearts is to be a lunatic.
  • Support for Biden’s policies also varies widely by news source. This can be seen in the charts below:
  • QAnon is significantly more popular with people who watch OAN or Newsmax than those who don’t, but most Trump voters haven’t heard of it, and those who have are largely negative. Overall, in the open-ended question asking respondents to describe QAnon, 54% of Trump voters said they didn’t know (significantly higher than the 31% of all respondents who didn’t know). 6% of Trump voters view it positively. In a multiple choice question, 11% of Trump voters say they view it favorably. But 14% of Newsmax/OAN-viewing Trump voters are favorable toward it — twice the number among other Trump voters. Troublingly, many responses among Trump voters were neutral or expressed mixed feelings about it.
  • Mike Pence’s favorability has plummeted with Republicans in the wake of January 6. In our pre-election poll, Mike Pence was viewed favorably by 90% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and unfavorably by 5%. Now, those numbers are 54% favorable, 27% unfavorable. 

POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE FRAMING OF BIDEN’S PLANS

  • Biden’s plans on every issue are supported by strong majorities — but right-wing framing of each issue lowers support to around 50%. When we describe each Biden plan, every one gets between 58% and 64% support — with his economic relief plan, Build Back Better plan, and racial justice plans being the most popular. But when each one is given the Fox News framing, support plummets; in fact, only the relief plan stays in positive territory. And the drops are not limited to Republicans — in fact, the drops among Biden voters are roughly equal to those among Trump voters.In other words, Biden’s policies are popular, but merely explaining what they do to Americans is not enough. We need to both countermessage the right-wing attacks, and aggressively get the message out to Americans about how these policies will benefit them.