APRIL 8, 2020 | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEDERAL CORONAVIRUS RELIEF PACKAGE WELCOMED, BUT AMERICANS INCREASINGLY PESSIMISTIC ABOUT ECONOMY
About three in four Americans say the CARES Act hasn’t improved their outlook in the near-term or otherwise doubt its benefits
DENVER, CO – According to a new survey by ROI Rocket, a leading provider of market research-based consulting services, nearly three in five Americans 18 and older (56%) approve strongly of the recently enacted federal coronavirus emergency relief package dubbed the CARES Act.
The most popular facet of the package is the provision for cash payments to qualified low- and middle-income households. The CARES Act provides $1,200 to Americans making $75,000 or less ($150,000 in the case of joint returns and $112,500 for head of household), plus $500 for each child. A family of four making $75,000 or less, for instance, can expect $3,400 in emergency relief.
Americans consider the second-most important part of the CARES Act to be the allocation of $130 billion in relief to the medical and hospital industries followed by requirements that all private insurance plans cover COVID-19 treatments and free coronavirus testing.
While there is general agreement about the ranking of the CARES Act’s various provisions, there are some notable differences in their relative importance depending on political persuasions among the public. Generally, Democrats express greater support for households and Republicans feel more strongly about assisting businesses. For example, Democrats are more likely to favor funding for food security programs than Republicans. On the other hand, Republicans regard broadly-applied business tax credits as much more important than Democrats.
Partisan differences aside, the provisions with the least support are those involving big business loans, aid for airlines and lastly, funding for federal arts and humanities programs. In comparison, the cash payments to the public provided by the CARES Act are deemed about ten times more important.
Passage of the CARES Act, however, hasn’t necessarily improved the public’s expectations about what the country looks like six months out. Three weeks ago, about 45% of adult Americans believed the nation would be ‘much better’ in another six months. As of last week, that figure’s dropped to only about 31%. By the same token, about three in four (75%) now anticipate COVID-19 will plunge the U.S. into a recession, if not a depression. That percentage is up ten points compared to just a week earlier.
Given the CARES Act, small business owners are a bit more optimistic than the general public. About two in five (41%) anticipate the country will be ‘much better’ in six months and fewer expect the U.S. to fall into a depression (22% among small business owners vs. 30% among the general public).
Americans’ increasing pessimism about the near-future is due, in part, to the growing number of layoffs and other discouraging job-related impacts of the pandemic. About two out of three Americans (65%) report some detrimental change to their work situation, up ten percentage points from the previous week.
At a time when Congressional Democrats are pushing to double the size of a supplemental emergency relief bill to boost loans for distressed businesses, this survey shows the greatest public support for new provisions that would expand COVID-19 testing to those who haven’t exhibited symptoms, extend family and medical leave, and enhance food stamp and assistance benefits. Only the last provision is included in the current version of the $250 billion emergency supplement requested by the Trump administration.
ABOUT THIS RESEARCH
This study of 1,009 U.S. residents aged 18 and older was fielded between March 31 and April 6, 2020. The results have an associated margin of error of +/- 3.1% at the 95% confidence level in the most conservative case. This means the results come within plus or minus 3.1% of the results that would have been obtained given a census of all qualified individuals. Sample collection was balanced to U.S. Census figures for gender, age, race/ethnicity and household income.
A supplemental sample of 403 small business owners (SBOs) was included in this wave. The results associated with SBOs have an associated margin of error of +/- 4.9% confidence level in the most conservative case.
The study is projected to run for another fourteen (14) weeks and include separate, supplemental studies of business leaders and healthcare professionals. Press releases will be issued periodically as warranted by the results.
ABOUT ROI ROCKET
Founded in 2007, ROI Rocket is a leading provider of full-service market research, marketing and sales automation, and digital agency support with offices in Denver, CO, Vancouver, WA, and Jacksonville, FL.