51 percent of voters now support $2,000 a month of emergency UBI

Natalie Foster, Data for Progress

The threat of Coronavirus has shocked the world. From the availability of medical supplies to the feeling of safety and wellbeing to the economy, nothing has been immune. As we face this pandemic, industries are shutting their doors, laying off workers, and looking to wait out the storm. The stock market is at its lowest level since early 2017, and businesses are looking for help from the government. 

Data for Progress conducted a poll of 583 likely voters on 3/20/2020 with a margin of error +/-4.1% to see how Americans felt about direct payments to Americans. 

Congress is discussing sending direct payments to every American. One question that has arisen is whether these payments will be a one time check, or be reoccuring on a monthly basis. Data for Progress polling strongly suggests that voters are supportive of monthly payments and that they want those payments to be generous. In our polling, voters are evenly split on which party is working harder to get them a check, with 39 percent believing Democrats are and 36 believing Republicans are.

When voters are asked to choose whether they would support one-time payments or monthly payments and presented with arguments for both monthly payments and one-time payments, 63 percent said monthly payments are preferable. Twenty-six percent think they should be one-time payments.

Voters were then asked how they would personally prefer to receive payments. Asked whether they would prefer a one-time check or monthly payments until the economic crisis is over, voters sided with monthly payments by a 38-point margin. Only six percent believe there should be no cash stimulus from the government.

Assuming an economic stimulus plan is on the table, there has been steady debate over what an appropriate dollar amount is per adult or family. Notably, Senator Bernie Sanders and other prominent Senate Democrats have advocated for $2,000 a month, and Senator Mitt Romney has advocated a flat $1,000 payment. 

To determine the scale that voters desire for direct payments, we asked voters to select whether they thought the government should send $1000 checks monthly, $2000 checks monthly or if the government should not send checks. Fifty-one percent of voters believe $2,000 a month is the right amount, with 36 percent believing it should be $1,000. Only four percent of voters think that the government should not send Americans money.

Large industries—such as cruise lines, airlines, oil and gas, casinos, and others—have advocated for direct governmental assistance. By a 94 percent margin, voters believe the stimulus should be sent directly to Americans—rather than large corporations (97-3). 

Perhaps the most shocking result comes when we asked voters which party they believed was working harder to get them a check. Thirty-nine percent said Democrats, 36 percent said Republicans, and seven percent said neither. This implies the public is still watching to see who proposes policies that most directly help them weather this storm. 

As actual bills get proposed and voted into law, Congress should take into account the views of the American people who support a robust monthly cash payment system.

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