NEW POLL: As Congress Stalls on Stimulus, Americans Support Direct Action to Improve the Economy

For Immediate Release

December 15, 2020

Contact: [email protected]

Continued Economic Anxiety Among Public Underlies Desire for Government Action

Washington, DC – As the Senate continues to search for a bipartisan compromise on an economic relief package, a new survey shows strong public support for a range of stimulus measures, including a new round of stimulus checks and extending unemployment benefits. Voters—including Republicans and moderates—also want Congress to prioritize infrastructure investment and jobs, ensuring widespread COVID vaccinations, and protecting Social Security while increasing benefits by taxing the wealthy at the same rate as everyone else. In addition, while the survey indicates that results of the presidential election may have impacted partisans’ perceptions, by and large the public remains anxious about the national economy and the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While the approval of a COVID vaccine gives us reason for optimism that things may look up next year, the American public continues to suffer right now – and that will get worse unless Congress acts,” said Beth Kanter, Chief Advocacy & Strategic Communications Officer of Omidyar Network. “Additional stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits maintain support across party lines. Congress must pass a strong economic relief package that includes fiscal relief for state and local governments in order to directly address the needs of the American people.”

The data comes from the Omidyar Network Economic Tracking Survey, which was designed, conducted and analyzed by GBAO. The Survey was first launched in September, and found voters across the political spectrum “struggling,” as they favored direct government action on the economy. This sentiment was largely unchanged in an October follow up survey.

Since the election, however, perceptions of the economy have somewhat adjusted along partisan lines. Democrats’ ratings of the country’s economy have improved considerably (December: -52 positive – negative; October: -69). Republicans, meanwhile, are now more pessimistic (December: -6; October: +14). Additionally, moderate voters—who can be either independent or of either party—indicate they have become relatively more optimistic about the country post-election with slightly more (29%) expressing optimism about the economy than in October (21%).

Yet the shifts in partisan perceptions have not been enough to drastically change the public’s overall outlook on the economy. Two-thirds find the country’s economy to be either “not so good” or “poor” (65%), with similar numbers for their own state (66%). They are similarly negative on their own personal situation since March (34% “gotten worse” vs. 13% “gotten better”) and are just barely more optimistic about what’s to come for them personally in the next six months (23% “will improve” vs. 20% “get worse”).

Beyond economics, the survey found continued anxiety and mental health challenges. 43% of those surveyed rate concern about family members getting COVID-19 among their biggest worries, while 29% are worried the economy will take years to recover, three percentage points higher than in October and September (26%). Nearly one in five (18%) list mental health of themselves or of their families as a top concern – an increase of four percentage points from October (14%).

The online survey was conducted November 30-December 3, 2020. 1,100 interviews were completed with registered voters—including an oversample of self-identified moderates. The sample is weighted to a sample size of 1,000 and is representative of registered voters nationally along lines of gender, region, age, race/ethnicity, education, 2020 presidential vote, and other characteristics.

Full toplines for December’s poll can be found here.

Omidyar Network believes an updated capitalism must place individuals, community, and societal well-being at the center of our economy and has offered an alternative vision for an economy. Read more about Our Call to Reimagine Capitalism in America HERE.


Established by philanthropists Pam and Pierre Omidyar, Omidyar Network is a social change venture that has committed more than $1 billion to innovative for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations since 2004. Omidyar Network works to reimagine critical systems and the ideas that govern them, and to build more inclusive and equitable societies in which individuals have the social, economic, and democratic power to thrive.