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Poll: People favor expansive Covid-19 relief over a targeted bipartisan package

Sixty-two percent of voters want Congress to pass the $1.9 trillion bill as soon as possible.

A pedestrian wearing a face mask and holding a cup of coffee walks past a Closed sign hanging on the door of a small business in Los Angeles, California, on November 30, 2020.
Frederic J.Brown/AFP/Getty Images
Li Zhou is a politics reporter at Vox, where she covers Congress and elections. Previously, she was a tech policy reporter at Politico and an editorial fellow at the Atlantic.

This week, the Covid-19 relief bill heads to the Senate, where it’s poised to face significant opposition from Republican members who think the measure is too big and wasteful. Democrats, meanwhile, have emphasized how much people are still struggling given the fallout from Covid-19, and note that this bill is commensurate with that need.

Because of this disagreement, it’s very possible that the relief legislation ends up advancing solely with Democratic support. And according to a new poll from Vox and Data for Progress, most voters — including nearly half of Republicans — believe lawmakers need to pass the $1.9 trillion bill as quickly as they can.

Per the survey, the majority of likely voters overwhelmingly favor quick passage of the larger Covid-19 relief bill pushed by Democratic lawmakers rather than a more targeted bipartisan option. Democrats have proposed a $1.9 trillion package featuring $1,400 stimulus checks, a weekly $400 boost in unemployment insurance, and $350 billion in state and local aid. The $618 billion Republican bill — championed by a group of GOP lawmakers — would focus on vaccine funding and offer less in stimulus checks along with reduced unemployment support.

Overall, 62 percent of voters back passing the $1.9 trillion stimulus package as soon as possible, while 31 percent said they supported a targeted bipartisan option. Similarly, 83 percent of voters said it was more important to get people the help they need than for lawmakers to find consensus on a stimulus package. Only 12 percent said getting to a bipartisan package was a bigger priority. Democrats and independents were more likely to favor swift passage of the $1.9 trillion plan, while Republicans were more divided, with 47 percent for doing so and 47 percent for a smaller option.

These results suggest there’s broad support for Democrats’ larger stimulus proposal, and show that many people care more about getting aid to people who need it than they do about ensuring the package is a bipartisan one.

The result is a reminder that many Americans are facing economic difficulty — 18 million people were receiving unemployment aid as of late January — and are relying on additional relief to navigate the ongoing fallout.

Interestingly, while bipartisanship wasn’t as important for most with respect to stimulus, respondents still valued the concept when asked about it more broadly, with 49 percent of likely voters saying it was important to them, while 39 percent said it was not a top priority. When surveyed on this, Republicans (52 percent) and independents (52 percent) were more likely than Democrats (43 percent) to say that bipartisanship still mattered a great deal to them.

These results indicate that a plurality of likely voters place high importance on bipartisanship in theory, but that when it comes to Covid-19 aid, obtaining much-needed help could outweigh that.

The polling was conducted between February 19 and 22 and surveyed 1,527 likely voters. It has a 3-point margin of error.

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