Majority Think US Economy Will Take Some Time to Recover, But Optimism is Growing

August 30, 2020
Coronavirus | Economic Policy | Health | Markets | Personal Finance | The Economy | US Government
Share this research:

Our Most Recent Research

A poll conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies last week found that 44% of Americans are either very worried or extremely worried about the impact of coronavirus on the American economy. Meanwhile, a plurality (31%) is only somewhat worried, and 22% is not worried. While a plurality is only somewhat worried about the effect the pandemic will have on the US economy, few are optimistic overall.

Those that intend to vote for Trump in the upcoming Presidential Election are generally more optimistic. A plurality (38%) are somewhat concerned, while roughly a third (32%) are not worried at all or mostly not worried about the effect the pandemic may have on the US economy. Meanwhile, a plurality (35%) of those intending to vote for Biden are very worried and think there will be a recession, and a further quarter (26%) are extremely worried and expecting the worst. Ultimately, greater levels of optimism among Trump supporters about the future economic situation will put pressure on Trump to deliver on his economic promises if he is re-elected.

There has been a slight shift in optimism over the past months, despite the recent announcement that the US economy shrank by an annualized 31.7% in the second quarter. In a poll conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies in March, a third (33%) of respondents said they were very worried and believed there would be a recession and a further 26% said they were extremely worried and expecting the worst.  This combined 59% of Americans who were very worried or extremely worried in March has now reduced to 44% in August, which indicates that a significant proportion of the public does not think the pandemic has had an economic impact as bad as it could have been. Indeed, back in March, a mere 14% of the public were not worried at all or mostly not worried, whereas that figure is now 22%. While the US is only just starting to assess the cost of the pandemic, there has been a shift towards optimism when thinking about the pandemic’s effect on the economy.

Since March, Americans have also become more optimistic in regard to personal finances. At this stage, a plurality (37%) of Americans think that their financial situation will more or less stay the same, while a quarter (25%) think it will be quite negatively impacted or will be dire and requiring serious financial assistance. In March, almost half of respondents (46%) thought that their financial situation would be quite negatively impacted or be put in a dire position by the pandemic.

The majority of the American public (55%) are more concerned about the impact of the coronavirus crisis on public health, while over a third (37%) are primarily concerned about how the economy will be affected.

Results vary significantly by political affiliation. The majority (57%) of those intending to vote for Donald Trump are more concerned about the effect the pandemic is having on the economy while the vast majority (72%) of potential Biden voters are more worried about the public health situation. Trump’s focus on economic issues within his campaign may reflect a recognition that his voter base are primarily concerned about the future of the economy.

The vast majority (70%) of the American public acknowledge that the US economy will need some time to recover from the coronavirus crisis.

Nevertheless, the American public are split as to which candidate would be more likely to lead a strong recovery for the US economy, with 38% believing Donald Trump to be the best candidate in this regard while 41% side with Joe Biden. Trump’s 2016 campaign and his 2020 re-election campaign thus far have had a focus on the economy, and therefore the Trump campaign may be concerned that the public are not persuaded by his approach to boosting the economy. On the other hand, given the importance of the economy to the electorate, the Biden campaign might be concerned that Joe Biden is not significantly ahead of Trump at this stage, despite the economic impact of the pandemic and the rise in unemployment in the United States.

Those who are intending to vote for Trump are split evenly on whether there will be a quick economic rebound (50%) or a lengthier economic recovery (50%). In contrast, the overwhelming majority (84%) of those intending to vote for Biden think a recovery will take some time. Given that half of Trump’s supporters are expecting a swift economic rebound, the pressure is on the President to deliver on his economic promises. On the other hand, Biden’s supporters may be more sympathetic to a slower economic recovery because they are expecting it to be the case.

To ease the pandemic’s strain on the economy, President Trump has introduced a number of economic support measures for Americans through four executive orders, which have proved popular. The majority (62%) of the American public agree that the Federal Government should intervene in the US economy to help save jobs and companies, even if it means adding significantly to the national debt, while only a tenth (10%) disagree. In this instance, there is little difference along political party lines, perhaps in part because of the President’s proven commitment to state intervention when necessary, which has traditionally been an approach embraced by Democrats rather than Republicans.

Meanwhile, a plurality (38%) agree that the US economy has been over-regulated and requires more de-regulation while a fifth (21%) disagree.

The majority (52%) of Trump voters agree that the economy needs more de-regulation while those intending to vote for Biden are split evenly on the issue (29% agree and 30% disagree).

A strongly plurality (44%) agree that the US stock market performing well means the US economy is heading in the right direction, while approximately a fifth (22%) disagree.

Again, there are stark difference along political lines. The vast majority (70%) of those intending to vote for Trump in the upcoming election agree with this statement, whereas those intending to vote for Biden are somewhat more split, with 29% agreeing and 36% disagreeing.

Overall, in regard to general economic policy, Trump’s supporters are united on particular principles and ideas, which may enable the Trump campaign to appeal to voters on economic grounds. Meanwhile Biden’s supporters are much more divided, even on broad economic ideas, which could cause Joe Biden significant problems when devising his own economic policies. Nevertheless, the American public are split on which candidate would best support the US economic recovery out of the pandemic. Regardless of political affiliation, the American public acknowledge that the economic recovery could take some time, and agree that the Federal Government should take steps to protect jobs and companies, even if that risks increasing national debt. However, despite the apprehension of many respondents, there has been a slight, but notable, shift towards optimism about both the state of the US economy and the personal financial position of respondents.

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

Follow us on Twitter

To read more please subscribe to our site

Get access to all of our research for one month
  • Subscription is free +
  • Unlimited access for 30 days
  • Weekly Insights email
Share our research:

Our Most Recent Research