Most Americans say national political conventions should be cancelled

July 21, 2020, 1:19 PM UTC

For the first time in Economist/YouGov Polls, a majority of Americans would cancel the two party conventions because of the coronavirus pandemic. Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to want to hold the conventions, but in just the last two weeks, Republican support for holding the conventions as usual has slipped below 50 percent.

Two weeks ago, just after the Republican National Committee moved a major part of their party’s convention to Jacksonville, Florida because of the limitations imposed on them by North Carolina (the convention’s original location,), 55 percent of Republicans favored holding the conventions as usual. Support has dropped seven points since then, as COVID-19 cases in Florida have surged. 

The President’s voters, however, whatever their partisan identification, aren’t ready to cancel the convention. By more than two to one, 60 percent to 26 percent, they want the conventions held as usual. Democrats overwhelmingly would cancel, as would more than three in four of those who now say they will vote for the presumptive Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden.  

Most Republicans also would like to see in-person campaign events go on as usual. Democrats, on the other hand, are content to lose in-person campaign events and rallies for the time being.  

Republicans, by 44 percent to 33 percent, believe it will be safe to hold the conventions. But despite the GOP desire for a convention, Republicans still want to practice social distancing at the events (61% to 26%).   

Democrats may see less of a need for the conventions—or even renewed campaigning— as their candidate has led in polls throughout the summer. In this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll, Biden leads the President 49 percent to 40 percent in the trial heat. 

The gender gap is sizable. While GOP and Democratic men and women are overwhelmingly committed to their party’s candidate, independent men and women diverge greatly in their preference. In this poll, independent men narrowly support the President, 44 percent to 39 percent, but by two to one independent women favor Biden (49% to 25%). 

While as many registered voters view Biden unfavorably (48%) as see him favorably (49%), Biden is better liked than the President (43%). Most voters have an unfavorable opinion of President Trump (56%). 

The President’s strongest issue area, the economy, may not be helping him as much as he needs. It remains the only issue area where more Americans approve or disapprove of the President’s management, but even that margin may be narrowing. 49% approve of how the President is handling the economy, 44% do not.  

The bigger concern may be the general pessimism about the country’s economic future, whomever is elected. Many Americans may not think that either candidate will make much of a difference. Among registered voters, 43% say the economy will get worse if Biden wins in November; 43% say it will get worse if the President is re-elected. In each case fewer say it will get better. 
 
See the toplines and crosstabs results from this week’s Economist/YouGov poll 
 
Methodology: The most recent Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US adult citizens interviewed online between July 12 - 14, 2020. The approximate margin of error is 3.3 percentage points for the overall sample. Samples are weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. 
 
Image: Getty