Harvard CAPS - Harris Poll Deep Dive with Mark Penn (May, 2020)


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Presidential Pollster Mark Penn (@Mark_Penn_Polls) shares analysis of a new Harvard CAPS / Harris Poll, fielded May 14-16 among 1,854 registered voters.

Download Report: bit.ly/PDF_HHPoll_May

Here are the important topics of the day as the voters see them:

VOTER MOOD – America is concerned and uncertain about re-opening, and voters are looking for leadership and unity. 68% are most concerned about opening up too soon compared to 32% who are primarily concerned about economic damage and hardship. We see some stark demographic differences in the answer to this question, with Democrats and urban demographics being most concerned about re-opening too soon, and Republicans and rural demographics the least. Overall, 85% of voters believe we should continue shelter in place practices for at least another month. And three-quarters of voters want another stimulus bill, with 64% preferring it be passed immediately and 59% saying we should pass all the proposed stimulus elements even if it has a price tag of $3 trillion. However, voters do not want stimulus money to be earmarked for undocumented immigrants.

ECONOMIC CONFIDENCE – confidence in the economy continues to decrease, with a majority voters believing the country will be in a recession 6 months from now and less than 1 in 3 thinking the US economy is strong and trending in the right direction. However, the number of voters who say their economic situation is declining has peaked, down just three points month-over-month suggesting that the worst impact may be over.

MANAGING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK – Given the economic confidence and uncertainty about reopening, it is no surprise that the administration’s job approval in handling the coronavirus is down 5 points month-over-month, from 51% in April to 46% this month. However, the numbers could shift yet again: voters believe all major institutions are functioning, with the White House receiving the highest score at 80%. And President Trump continues to receive majority approval in managing the economy and stimulating jobs.

MICHAEL FLYNN CASE – Voters are split in their support of the justice department dropping the case against Michael Flynn, and in general less than half know what Flynn was charged about. When prompted with details from the DOJ’s decision to drop the case, a majority support the dropping of the charges. But a majority also believe the FBI had reason to investigate Michael Flynn, and that it was right for President Obama to know about an FBI investigation into the national security adviser of the incoming administration and to be briefed on his conversations. Worryingly, a small majority also believe Obama administration officials conspired to leak news of intercepted conversations between Michael Flynn and Russian officials to discredit and have Flynn fired or not.

TARA READE/ BIDEN ALLEGATIONS – There is widespread awareness of the sexual harassment allegation towards Joe Biden, with a slight majority of voters believing the accusations. However, 6 in 10 voters claim this allegation has no effect on their likelihood to vote for Biden.

2020 ELECTION – Interest in the election remains strong, with 77% of voters indicating they are very likely to vote. Biden continues to lead Trump in a head-to-head match-up; among likely voters in our poll, Trump collects 43% of the vote, Biden 47%, with independent candidates at 6% and the unsure vote at 5%. When given a forced choice between the two, 53% of likely voters select Biden and 47% Trump, indicating that the remaining vote breaks in favor of Biden.