Broad support for Biden’s COVID-19 relief legislation

March 11, 2021, 7:45 PM UTC

President Joe Biden’s COVID relief bill, which he signed on Thursday, passed Congress with no Republican support. But the latest Economist/YouGov poll suggests that there are plenty of Republicans in the country who like the bill, and most favor several of its key provisions.

Nine in ten Americans (91%) have heard something about the legislation. Those who are aware of it support the legislation by more than two to one (64% to 31%). While only a third of Republicans say they favor the legislation overall (31%), there are components of the bill that receive majority GOP support.

More than three in four (77%) favor the $160 billion to be spent on the national vaccination program, and seven in ten approve the $300 weekly additional unemployment benefits. Two in three adults nationally (69%) support raising the child tax credit, while nearly as many (64%) favor funding state and local governments to create new jobs.  

The $1,400 direct payments to every individual making less than $75,000 a year, along with the money for the vaccine program, are the most popular parts of the legislation. Three-quarters of Americans overall support the direct payments (78%). 

The $1,400 direct payment and the allocation for the national vaccine program are the two most popular items for Republicans, too. Almost two-thirds of Republicans favor each of those sections (65% and 68% support, respectively). Half of Republicans approve of increasing the child tax credit (51%) and extending the additional $300 in weekly jobless benefits (53%). But Republicans are less keen on payments to state and local governments for job creation: 44% of Republicans support this, 50% oppose it.   

The $300 weekly extra unemployment benefits, trimmed from $400 in the original proposal, is a compromise that many wish had not happened. While 37% nationally favor the $300 amount, more  (45%) would have preferred the larger number. One in four (28%), including nearly half of Republicans (47%), say there should be no additional jobless benefits included in the legislation.  

The $15 minimum wage provision did not make the bill, but Americans don’t think it should have anyway – even though they support raising the minimum wage 

One of the more contentious issues about this bill was the inclusion of an increase to $15 an hour in the federal minimum wage, in incremental stages through 2025. It was part of the original legislative proposal, and in the bill first passed by the House, but the Senate’s parliamentarian ruled that it could not be considered in the Senate under that chamber’s reconciliation rules, which would have permitted passage by a simple majority and avoid a filibuster. 

But should the minimum wage increase have been in the bill? By 52% to 32%, the public believes it should not have been. 

COVID-19
 

The minimum wage increase is popular, particularly among groups that lean Democratic (85% support an increase). But it also receives significant opposition from Republicans. Just one in five Republicans (21%) support an increase of the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. Three-quarters (75%) of Republicans oppose it. Most of them believe it will hurt workers by causing some to lose their jobs (78%). 

Those with family incomes below $50,000 favor an increase (58%), while those with family incomes of $100,000 or more are closely divided (47% support, 49% oppose).  Black Americans and those under the age of 30 are especially in favor (76% and 63% support, respectively).  

Related: One in four Americans won’t accept just any COVID-19 vaccine 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this Economist/YouGov poll 

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US Adult Citizens interviewed online between March 6 - 9, 2021. This sample was 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. The margin of error is approximately 2.7% for the overall sample  

Image: Getty