Americans worried about losing wages, says CNBC / Change poll

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As the coronavirus pandemic hits the US economy, more voters in key 2020 election states are worried about losing their jobs or their wages, a poll released Tuesday found.

Over a third of respondents in the six key states who have already lost an income or a job said they could afford food, shelter and other essential costs for less than a month, according to States of Play, a joint CNBC / Change Research States survey.

Despite this, the likely voters polled in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – who will play a huge role in the 2020 election winner’s decision – overwhelmingly said that they were more concerned about their health than their finances.

The COVID-19 epidemic ravaged the United States, infecting more than 368,000 people and causing at least 10,993 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University on Tuesday morning. Business closings across the country resulted in the loss of 701,000 jobs in early March, although a tally of about 10 million new jobless claims over two weeks indicates that economic destruction is far worse than what the employment report showed.

While worries about loss of earnings have increased since the first iteration of the swing state poll in mid-March, voters are now most concerned for their health.

  • 84% of those polled in April said they had “very” or “somewhat” serious concerns about the illness or illness of a family member, compared to 51% in March.
  • 82% of likely state voters said they were more concerned about their family’s health and safety than their family’s financial situation, while 18% said they were not.
  • 81% said they had significant concerns about a recession, a jump from 57% last month.
  • Fear of lost wages has risen sharply, with 65% of them now seeing it as a very or fairly serious concern in April, up from 35% in March.
  • 39% said the same thing about losing a job, up from 16% last month.
  • Only 35% of respondents said the US economy is good or excellent, compared to 65% who rated it as bad or not so good. This is a major change from March, when 57% of respondents rated it as good or excellent.

In the April survey, 30% of likely voters in the six states said they lost their wages because of the coronavirus, 27% said they had seen fewer hours and 11% said they lost their employment.

Of those who lost their wages, 40% said they could cover their cost of living for less than a month, while 72% said they could pay for food, shelter and more essential products for less than two months. For those who lost their jobs, these figures rose to 42% and 76% respectively for one month and two months.

Voters barely get a glowing assessment of how the federal government has handled the pandemic. Opinions on how President Donald Trump is handling the crisis are mixed: 49% somewhat or strongly agree with his response, compared to 51% who somewhat or strongly disagree.

Congress scores lower: 64% of respondents somewhat or strongly disapprove of how US lawmakers have responded to the coronavirus. Lawmakers have passed three emergency response bills, the most recent of which invested $ 2 trillion in health care assistance, direct payments to individuals, small business loans and loans, and business subsidies.

The vast majority of respondents – 84% – said that they somewhat or strongly supported the bill. Despite this, 41% of likely voters said the legislation would benefit big business and Wall Street the most, compared to 24% who said it would help small business and workers the most. Sixteen percent responded that it would also benefit both groups.

The vast majority of the relief package provisions were extremely popular among voters in the swing states. But 54% said they were opposed to the $ 500 billion business assistance fund, while 42% approved.

The CNBC / Change Research poll polled 2,448 likely voters online in the six states Wednesday and Thursday, the day before the Labor Department’s dismal March job report.

Connect to CNBC for more survey coverage.

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