COVID-19, racial inequality among top political issues for Americans

Latest Newsy/Ipsos poll shows Americans split on whether to remove slaveholder statues from public spaces, but vast majority want Trump to wear a mask in public

The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Sara Machi Research Analyst, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, June 30, 2020 – While coronavirus cases begin to spike across the nation and the 2020 presidential election nears, a new Newsy/Ipsos poll finds that the COVID-19 pandemic tops the list of most important political issues. However, racial inequality is a growing concern, with one in three citing it as an important issue compared to fewer than 10 percent last December. Americans are more divided on this topic, though, as there is a nearly even split on support or opposition for the removal of statues or monuments of slaveholders from public spaces across the country.

Detailed Findings   

Just under half of Americans say the COVID-19 pandemic is one of their most important political issues right now, but those citing racial inequality has more than quadrupled since December 2019

  • Forty-five percent of Americans believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the three most important political issues. This is followed by the economy and jobs (34%), which has more than doubled in those who find it important since last December (15%).
  • Compared to late last year, the most rapidly growing issue is racial inequality: more than four times as many Americans now when compared to the end of 2019 think it is one of the most important current political issues (31% now vs. 7% in December). Some groups are more likely to choose racial inequality than the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Gen Z generation (60% racial inequality, 35% COVID-19 pandemic) and Black or African Americans (62%, 45%, respectively).
political issues

Americans are split on whether to remove statues or monuments of slaveholders from public spaces across the country.

  • Overall, 45% of Americans support removing these statues, compared to 47% who oppose.
  • Majorities of Americans under 35 (60%), Black (73%) and Hispanic (56%) Americans, as well as Democrats (68%) support removing these statues or monuments from public spaces across the country.
Removing statues

Americans are also divided in their prediction of the most likely outcome of the 2020 election. They do agree, however, that President Trump should wear a mask in public.

  • Forty-two percent say they believe Joe Biden will win in November, while 38% believe President Trump will be re-elected. Another 16% say they do not know.
  • Three quarters of Americans agree that President Trump should wear a face mask in public (74%), including 56% of Republicans.
  • A majority of Democrats and Independents (54%), though it is of particular importance for Democrats, say it is important for Joe Biden to select a woman of color as his vice presidential nominee. This includes 55% of Black Americans and 61% of those under 35 who identify as Democrats or Independents.

Many are feeling financial woes related to COVID-19. For those under age 40, it has made some reconsider their family plans.

  • Half of all Americans feel worse about their financial situation now (49%), and a third say it has gotten harder to pay rent or mortgage since the pandemic began.
  • More Americans are not concerned about losing their jobs (51%) than those who are concerned (45%), but majorities of non-white Americans and those under 35 years old say they are concerned (both 52%).
  • More than two in five Millennials and Gen Zers say the pandemic has made them less likely to want to have any, or any more, children (43% without children in the household, 42% with children in the household).

About the Study   

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between June 25-29, 2020, on behalf of Newsy. For this survey, a sample of 2,008 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. This poll is trended against Newsy/Ipsos polls conducted between December 16-17, 2019 with a sample of 1,005 U.S. adults, March 20-24, 2020 with a sample of 2,007 U.S. adults, April 16-20, 2020 with a sample of 2,004 U.S. adults, and May 13-15, 2020 with a sample fo 2,009 U.S. adults.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.     

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=2,008, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/4.0 percentage points).

The poll fielded from December 16-17, 2019 has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, and the polls fielded from March 20-24, April 16-20, and May 13-15, 2020 have a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

For more information on this news release, please contact:     

Mallory Newall 
Director, US   
Public Affairs   
+1 202 420-2014     

Kate Silverstein 
Media Relations Specialist, US   
Public Affairs   
+1 718 755-8829 

About Ipsos   

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.   

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.   

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).    ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP          



The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Sara Machi Research Analyst, Public Affairs