President-elect Joe Biden may have been the most moderate candidate in the Democratic primary, but his economic agenda includes several liberal policy proposals that are overwhelmingly popular according to new polling from the New York Times and SurveyMonkey—some even receiving bipartisan support.
Two-thirds of Americans (67%) support raising taxes on those making $400,000 or more while keeping tax rates at current levels for anyone making under that amount. Nearly all Democrats and Democratic leaners (88%) support this proposal, along with 70% of independents and nearly half of Republicans and GOP leaners (45%). Even among those with household incomes of $150,000 or more, the highest category for which we collect data, 62% of people support an increase in taxes for those making at least $400K.
Similarly, 64% of people support making four-year public colleges and universities tuition-free for all students whose families make less than $125,000 per year. Support for this measure is high among Democrats (87%) and independents (74%) but low among Republicans (36%). Adults who do not have a college degree are slightly more supportive of the measure than those who already have a Bachelor’s degree or more (65% vs. 60%).
Dwarfing either of those proposals, more than eight in 10 people in the U.S. (84%) support an emergency paid leave plan to cover the salaries of sick workers or gig economy workers during the coronavirus outbreak, with 73% of Republicans, 88% of independents, and 96% of Democrats in support of this particular proposal. Biden has said that tackling the pandemic is his top priority even before taking office, and the economic and health aspects are tied together closely. Support for this plan is consistent regardless of someone’s employment status, and only slightly higher among those who have lost a job since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. (90%) than among those who have not (84%).
Much like last month, a majority of people (57%) continue to say that we should prioritize controlling the coronavirus even if that means keeping some businesses closed or shutting them back down. Fewer (40%) say we should focus on reopening the economy even if that means there will be more cases of the coronavirus. Democrats and Republicans are sharply split on this issue, with 91% of Democrats saying we should focus on controlling the spread of the virus and 80% of Republicans saying we should focus on reopening.
Most people expect the virus to be under control a year from now, including the 35% who also say the economy will be strong or steadily improving and the 42% who also say that the economy will still be weak. While those topline numbers are unchanged from August, the underlying views by partisanship have shifted drastically. Three months ago, 65% of Republicans said they expected the virus to be under control and the economy to be strong or steadily improving within a year; this month, that number has fallen to just 28%. Meanwhile, Democrats’ responses have improved significantly on the same measure, from 19% in August to 43% this month.
Election brings major partisan realignment in consumer confidence
After nearly four years of steady consumer confidence interrupted only by the coronavirus pandemic this spring, this month marks the first time we’ve seen a sharp realignment in confidence—and it’s directly attributable to the election. A majority of people who voted for Donald Trump in 2020 (64%) say that jobs and the economy was the most important issue to them in deciding how to vote, with no other single issue reaching double digits, but 17% writing in their own reasons, most of which indicate wanting to vote for Trump because of his leadership. For Biden voters, the election was about the coronavirus pandemic (34%), racial inequality (16%), and health care (11%), with jobs and the economy trailing at 8%; 21% of Biden voters wrote in their own responses, most of which referenced wanting to vote Trump out and restore democracy.
After climbing back up to a score of 51 last month, the CCI dropped down to 47 in November, with an increase in confidence among Democrats (from 35 to 49) proving not enough to offset a steep decline among Republicans (from 70 to 45).
Looking ahead, just 21% of Republicans now say they expect to be better off financially a year from now, down from 41% last month; meanwhile, 41% of Democrats expect to be better off a year from now, up from 25% last month.
A majority of Republicans (56%) last month said that business conditions for the country as a whole are somewhat or very good; post-election, that number has more than been cut in half (19%).
Most drastically, 73% of Republicans now say they expect periods of widespread unemployment or depression to take place within the next five years, up from 28% last month; among Democrats, 51% now expect periods of widespread unemployment or depression, down from 76% in October.
A growing share of those who’ve lost jobs don’t expect to return
More than three in 10 working adults (32%) say they are very or somewhat worried they will lose their job in the coming weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak, nearly unchanged from August (31%).
While the number of adults who have lost a job since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak has been steady since August (22% this month), a growing share of those who’ve lost their jobs say they don’t expect to return. This month, 69% of those who have lost their job as a result of the coronavirus outbreak say they do not expect to return at any point, up from 59% last month and 51% when we first asked this question in July.
Safety even less of a concern now than in July
Despite the ominous increases in coronavirus cases and hospitalization rates throughout the country, more people now than in July say they would feel somewhat or very safe taking part in what used to be considered everyday activities. Fully eight in 10 people say they would feel safe eating outdoors at a restaurant (up from 72% in July), and 52% would feel comfortable eating indoors at a restaurant (up from 45% in July).
The biggest change was for the percentage of people who say they would feel comfortable flying--up from 32% in July to 44% in November, just in time for holiday travel.
For more detailed results, click through the interactive toplines below.
Read more about our polling methodology here.