Congress’ COVID-19 relief package is incredibly popular

Linley SandersData Journalist
February 25, 2021, 8:00 PM GMT+0

As Congress continues to deliberate a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that most proposals in the bill are popular with the American public, and three in five Americans (60%) say that Congress should spend whatever it takes to provide COVID-19 relief to the country.

The massive bill encountered early hesitation in Congress because of its large price tag and opposition to certain elements of the package, including whether to increase the federal minimum wage. The stimulus package will need the support of most Democrats in the House of Representatives to successfully clear the chamber later this week and move to the Senate.

By nearly 3 to 1, Americans support the COVID-19 relief bill (52% support, 18% oppose), while three in 10 (30%) are uncertain of their position. Americans also overwhelmingly favor many components of the bill.

Three-quarters of Americans (77%) support sending $1,400 relief checks to middle- and working-class Americans, a proposal that will cost about $422 billion total. This is easily the most-popular element of the bill across party lines. Nine in 10 Democrats (89%) support it, as do 74% of Independents and 61% of Republicans.

Seven in 10 (71%) Americans favor spending $30 billion on rental assistance for low- and middle-income households. The proposal comes as millions of Americans struggle to pay rent and the nation’s eviction moratorium is set to expire at the end of March. Nine in 10 Democrats (87%) support the measure, compared to three-quarters of Independents (73%) and half of Republicans (51%).

Seven in 10 Americans (70%) also hope Congress will pass a measure to extend child-care tax credits through next year. That extension is slightly more popular than a connected measure to provide American families with a $3,000 tax credit per child and a $3,600 tax credit per child under 6 years old (63%). Both measures are especially popular among parents to children under 18 years old (76% and 71% respectively).

Around seven in 10 Americans (69%) also want to continue a pause on student loan repayment, a component that is much more popular than outright canceling $10,000 in student debt for all borrowers. Half of Americans (54%) favor canceling such an amount, but one-third (32%) are opposed.

Similarly, 69% want to see $160 billion allocated to create a nationwide vaccination program. This component is particularly favored by those who already have been vaccinated or intend to be (83%), compared to one-third approval (32%) among those who do plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Majorities of Democrats (89%) and Independents (66%), and around half of Republicans (47%) support the proposed funding.

The least popular element surveyed was a proposal to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour. The proposal is favored by 52% to 37% by the public, but there are sharp partisan divides. Three-quarters of Democrats (77%) approve of it, compared to 51% of Independents and 20% of Republicans. The only two components of the bill that a majority of Republicans disapprove of are the minimum wage increase (70% oppose) and canceling $10,000 in student debt (58% oppose).

Related: Worry about COVID-19 infection drives desire for the vaccine

See the toplines and crosstabs from this Yahoo News/YouGov poll

Methodology: The Yahoo! News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,556 U.S. adults interviewed online between February 20 - 22, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as 2020 Presidential vote (or non-vote), and voter registration status. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. adults. The margin of error for the entire sample is 2.9%

Image: Getty