Which industries deserve financial assistance from the US government?

Linley SandersData Journalist
April 16, 2020, 1:50 PM UTC

On Tuesday, the Treasury Department reached an agreement to provide $25 billion to an industry that has been financially hit by the COVID-19 pandemic: airlines. Large airlines will receive financial assistance in the form of federal grants and loans, which they can use to pay airline industry workers.

YouGov data shows that a plurality of Americans (45%) support the federal government providing financial assistance to airlines impacted by COVID-19, but one-third (34%) are opposed. Even more than airlines, Americans are interested in seeing small businesses (84%), the food service industry (77%), retail industries (62%), and hospitality chains (52%), receive financial assistance from the government. 

A majority of Americans are opposed to the federal government granting financial assistance to casinos (65%), cruise lines (53%), or the entertainment industry (51%), even if they are impacted by the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

For many industries, there is bipartisan support for providing federal aid. Republicans and Democrats are equally likely to support financial assistance for small businesses (89% vs 86%), restaurants (82% vs 84%), retail establishments (68% vs 68%), and hotel or hospitality chains (54% vs 57%) that are impacted by COVID-19.

Republicans are more likely than Democrats to support financial assistance for airlines (56% vs 46%), cruise lines (31% vs 25%), banks (40% vs 33%), and auto companies (44% vs 38%) that have been hit by the outbreak. They are also more likely than Democrats to outright oppose financial assistance for casinos (71% vs 62%), though that industry doesn’t garner much support from either party.

There is a growing number of sectors seeking financial assistance from the government, too. Last week, the United States Postal Service requested a $89 billion bailout from Congress, warning that the US mail service could run out of money by September without aid. A separate YouGov survey of more than 23,000 Americans found that about three-quarters (73%) support the government providing financial assistance to the USPS.

A majority of Democrats (86%) and Republicans (62%) support some type of financial assistance to the USPS. Other YouGov data finds that American confidence in the economy is at an extraordinary low. Data from the latest Economist/YouGov Poll indicates a majority of Americans (56%) believe the economy is “getting worse.” 

See the crosstabs from this survey and email uspress@yougov.com for more information

Methodology: This survey of 1,403 US residents was conducted between March 30-31, 2020. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+). The margin of error is +/- 3 points.

Image: Getty