Opinions Shift as Swiftly as 9-11, 2008

I’m not a huge fan of Newsmax, but I do have high regard for McLaughlin and Associates polling. John and Jim McLaughlin have posted results of a long survey of 1,000 “likely voters” taken during the middle of last week, as the crisis grew in this country. Here’s the full survey and the  Newsmax report.

Some highlights that jumped out to me:

  • “Based on our historic polling experience, this movement of national voter opinion is an equivalent to the effects of 9-11 and the 2008 economic crisis combined. (Emphasis added.)
  • 44% saw the country as in recession. It would be easy to wonder how the other 56% can be so dense, but technically a recession is two full quarters of going backwards, not just one month.
  • More than one-third of voters (35%) cannot afford to go longer than a month without a paycheck, and many of them can’t hold out that long. The impact is harder on the younger respondents, Hispanics and African-Americans.
  • Despite that, 52% favored a full national shutdown, closing as many businesses as possible. The polling closed Thursday and it is easy to assume that sentiment will grow (as the effectiveness of the move fades).
  • And despite his resistance to that, President Trump was getting an approval bump out of this, especially in the battleground states.  This is where skeptics will point to McLaughlin’s GOP roots.

That has your interest. Go to the full text. Hat tip: Chris Braunlich. If you find other interesting polls from respected pollsters, add them in the comments.

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20 responses to “Opinions Shift as Swiftly as 9-11, 2008

  1. re: ” This is where skeptics will point to McLaughlin’s GOP roots.”

    nope. It’s replicated in other polls AND it’s a fairly typical thing with any
    POTUS during many national emergencies – people tend to support the POTUS.

    One thing that has me puzzled on the economy – if we have 160 million people employed, how does a 5 or even a 10% hit take the economy down so far and so damaged?

    dumb question?

    The other thing is – if our economy WAS so good how come about half our births are Medicaid, half of kids health insurance is Medicaid and many schools are 40% or more free and reduced? How good was THAT economy?

    Now – apparently, most of the folks who inhabited the lower tier of employment (and relied on Medicaid and free&reduced) are unemployed AND because of that the economy is belly up?

    If 150 million are STILL employed…. ???

    sound like the bottom tier was the economy’s worker hamsters?

  2. Agree about newsmax. All those erectile dysfunction ads

  3. Agree with LarrytheG. It would be shocking that any President wouldn’t get some sort of approval bump during a crisis. However, it’s a very small bump…

    It simply amazes me that people still don’t want to acknowledge that we live in a nation where the top 10% (both cognitively and financially) live great lives and the “bottom” 75% barely scrape by. By the end of April, I think this reality is going to be too glaring to ignore. I suspect that many of the “get back to work” boosters realize that if social isolation lasts into May, we’re probably headed for massive social and economic changes in America. It’s been building since 2008. At some point, the dam is going to burst. This may be the moment that the current socioeconomic structure in America gives way…Half of this country can’t survive going 6-7 weeks without a paycheck (even if they get a stimulus check).

    • The average household income at the 70th percentile was $100,201 in 2019. Is that really “barely scraping by”?

      • Well, I suppose it’s where you live. But in NoVa? If you’ve got a household income of $100K, it doesn’t take much to put you on your back at that level. An unexpected medical emergency, etc. I doubt there are many couples in NoVa earning $100K who feel comfortable in their financial situation.

        I have a friend who teaches in Stafford. His wife is an accountant. I’d assume, though I’ve never asked, that their household income is about $100-110K. They’re in their mid-50s and they just finished putting a kid through Tech. They’re quite honest that the only way they can retire is due to him being on VRS. But for that, there’s no way they could retire in their 60s. They aren’t irresponsible. They may not say “scraping by”, but they’d probably tell you that they’re not comfortable with their financial situation.

        • There are lots and lots of folks who have far less than 100K in income in Virginia. 72K is the median. In a lot of places in RoVa – 50K is doing well.

  4. I found and linked the full PPT on the poll, in the story above. Even more interesting….27% identified themselves as retired. Take them out, and almost HALF of all respondents said they couldn’t last more than a month without being “out of work.” Yes, this will strain the seams badly.

    https://mclaughlinonline.com/pols/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/National-Monthly-Omnibus-MARCH-PUBLIC.pdf See Page 20 of 29.

    • Typically, there is a penalty of taking money out of a 401k early except for a couple of reasons like medical or other emergency. My bet is that the IRS
      will add this to the exemptions.

      It will hurt many – especially since they have already lost value but it
      ought to buy time for those that have them.

    • Very good point about retirees, Mr. Haner. I view the American economy this way:
      Top 10%: Pretty good to amazing lives
      11-25%: How we used to view the middle class: Basically homeowners, enough income to have some savings, they’ll probably retire if Social Security remains constant. Not a bad life. Maybe even good. But, it’s what Boomers would have considered average.
      26-50%: Barely making it. The type of folks who, if they’re lucky, will have 80-100K in household retirement savings when they reach 65. Probably not going to retire. If they do, it will be a meager retirement with Social Security. Coronavirus probably wipes them out savings wise if it lasts more than 2 months and the only stimulus we get is what Congress passed.
      Bottom 50%: Paycheck-to-paycheck or even more precarious.

      Coronavirus really does have the potential to completely upend the entire socioeconomic system if we have more than 4 weeks of social distancing.

  5. “Take “the retirees” out, and almost HALF of all respondents said they couldn’t last more than a month without being “out of work.” Yes, this will strain the seams badly.”

    Steve and Creguy finger the central rising problem over next few months. How do we insure these people, a majority of us, short term financial survival? How can we get them back to work in some form or fashion in the very short term?

    Meanwhile this morning, Gov. Larry Hogan said he believes that the Maryland, DC, and Virginia area will be looking “a lot like New York,” by Easter.

    Let us hope he is wrong. And very wrong. One might reasonable suspect and suggest that the Gov. Hogan overstated his case, given N. Y. City’s unique circumstances.

    However if he right then its all hands on deck. Several dense urban areas within America, along with Washington DC region, will then likely confront similar challenges to New York.

    Now then we are looking at a mass logistics challenge, and social control challenge, on a national scale, as a number of states and localities must create barriers of health care defense, and well as to defense to entry. Some might have to impose social order, perhaps marshal law. The mobilization and deployment of key American assets nationwide, will be key, in times of quarantine. How do be we balance, and modulate?

    Likely, too, much of this will going down to small town level, unless interstate and intrastate travel is not effectively curtailed, one way or another.

    See: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/coronavirus-latest-e2-80-98in-two-weeks-around-easter-we-e2-80-99re-going-to-be-looking-a-lot-like-new-york-e2-80-99-gov-larry-hogan-says/ar-BB11Sf8P

    • This just out from WSJ daily update on virus:

      “Coronavirus Briefing: Pandemic Compels Historic Labor Shift

      Today’s Top Takeaways

      Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease official warned Sunday that the new coronavirus could kill up to 200,000 Americans and sicken millions.

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday issued a domestic travel advisory cautioning against visits to New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

      China reopened domestic flights in Hubei, where the world’s first cases were reported late last year, though they remain suspended in the capital Wuhan

      The coronavirus pandemic is forcing the fastest reallocation of labor since World War II, as an army of idled workers are mobilized into new activities that are urgently needed. (full story)

      Dr. Fauci said a new federal advisory announced Saturday night urging New York City area residents not to travel to other states would help slow the virus’s spread. (full story)

      The March employment report will show a hit to the U.S. job market due to the pandemic, but it is unlikely to show the depth of the crash because the data reflect the month’s first weeks. (full story)”

      For more see:

      • “Forcing the fastest reallocation of labor since World War II”…

        Thank goodness we have a highly flexible labor market. It’s one of the strengths of our economy. The contagion is wiping out millions of existing jobs, but creating millions of new jobs. Hopefully, Amazon and GrubHub won’t have any trouble finding laid-off workers to meet the demand for online delivery.

    • You are correct Mr. Fawell. Most families in this country cannot accept 2 months without income except for the stimulus check. We are looking at a crushing blow to the working and lower middle classes in this country.

  6. “The bill would give C$2,000 a month for the next four months for people who lost their job because of Covid-19. It would apply to people who are quarantined, helping a sick family member, have been laid off or have not received payment from their employer.” So that’s Canada, and I’m not sure how that compares to the one time US payments PLUS the enhanced unemployment benefits. Don’t forget, the US plan also really ups UI checks.

    And some of the business grants are tied to keeping your payroll largely intact. So that should count as an effort for the working folks, too.

    I suspect Hogan is reflecting what the docs are telling him. He’s got Johns Hopkins right there.

    Some REALLY interesting interplay in Cuomo’s presser today (he’s soooo much better than you know who….) Seems Schumer and others stuck into the “rescue” bill a requirement that NY suspend its effort to reform Medicaid in order to get the extra federal Medicaid $$ in the bill. Cuomo called them out big time, say’s he’s staying with the reform. He’s got a national audience right now. The games played in taht bill are only now coming out.

    • I suspect this marks the end of the Chuck and Nancy Show.

    • I can’t tell if this stayed in the final version (from WSJ March 20 )

      ” Q: Are there limits at the bottom of the income distribution?

      A: Yes. Individuals need to have qualifying income of at least $2,500 or income tax liability to get the minimum payment of $600. That income is a broad definition and includes Social Security and certain pensions, so retirees and veterans would get checks, according to Senate Republicans.

      But the way the minimum amount is structured means that many households won’t get the maximum benefit until an individual income reaches about $23,500 or a married couple’s income reaches about $47,000, according to Kyle Pomerleau of the American Enterprise Institute. About 64 million households with incomes below $50,000 wouldn’t get the maximum benefit, he said.”

  7. So we have 152 million people who are employed in the US. (US Employment and Jobs. There were 152,186,000 jobs in the US in January 2020 according to the CES survey of employers.)

    and as of right now – There were 15.7 million unemployed among 153.98 million in the labor force. Add to that the 2.4 million marginally attached, including 808,000 discouraged workers, and you get a U-5 rate of 11.6%.

    so maybe 130-140 still have jobs and are receiving paychecks, still buying groceries, still paying rent or mortgage, etc….but half of them cannot go more than a month without a paycheck unless the far bigger half is folks already unemployed plus others in danger of losing their jobs (not sure who they are exactly, maybe airlines?)

    So. about half of the total unemployed – about 10 million on restaurant.
    About 18 million are hospitality industry.

    I’m NOT skeptical of the numbers, I suspect they are dead-on correct but I guess I’m still amazed just how much economic damage there is even when 3/4 of workers still have jobs land the majority of the ones who are unemployed are in the lower service-sector tiers.

    One might (wrongly) think that the economy should not be that reliant on this sector since they make so much less than the sectors that are still employed.

  8. Interesting commentary on COVID-19 and the economy. In 2014 4,110 Virginians died from smoking-attributable cancer. The International Health Metrics organization estimates 2,053 Virginians will die from COVID-19 by August 4, 2020. Given Virginia’s estimated peak of deaths per day on May 17, 2020 it seems clear that more Virginians will die from smoking-related cancer than COVID-19 in 2020. Over time these deaths could be significantly reduced by making smoking illegal. However, nobody is suggesting that.

    Between 750 – 1,000 Virginians die in car crashes every year. This total could be significantly reduced by adopting a state-wide maximum speed limit of 25 mph. However, nobody is suggesting that.

    At some point, sooner rather than later, we’re going to have to accept COVID-19 as a disease we can’t cure or vaccinate against in the near term and accept a certain level of fatalities just like we do with automobile usage and legalized tobacco.


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