Making politics virtual: Most support 2020 political conventions moving online

May 14, 2020, 6:20 PM GMT+0

Just as most Americans approve of Congress and the Supreme Court working remotely, most Americans in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll would accept virtual political nominating conventions in this year of COVID-19—though Democrats are more enthusiastic about it than Republicans.

Approval of a remote convention seems to unify Democratic primary voters. Supporters of Vice President Joe Biden (the presumptive nominee) and supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are equally likely to favor a virtual event.

Democrats would even consider canceling the convention, if necessary – something GOP voters reject. Although a plurality of Sanders supporters say cancellation would be acceptable (48%), more than one in four (28%) oppose canceling the event. Republican voters are much more likely than either Democratic group to favor holding the convention despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

This partisan difference reflects other findings in the poll that indicate that Republicans are more optimistic than Democrats about the pandemic’s end and more resistant to keeping the economy closed. By two to one Republican primary voters believe it will be safe to hold the conventions in August as planned (51% vs 25%); by nearly six to one, Democratic voters doubt that will be the case (11% vs 63%).