NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll Results: The Transition, Trump, & COVID-19

Many View Election as Legitimate, Say Trump Should Concede…More Americans Willing to Take Vaccine

Sixty-one percent of Americans consider the results of the 2020 presidential election to be accurate, and 65% think President Donald Trump should formally concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden.

Election Results Accurate?
Do you trust that the results of the 2020 election are accurate, or not?
Source: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll National Adults. Interviews conducted Dec. 1st – Dec. 6th, 2020, n=1065 MOE +/- 3.7%
  • Most Democrats (95%) and more than two- in-three independents (67%) accept the 2020 election results as legitimate. 24% of Republicans agree.

  • Republicans, voters who supported Trump in the 2020 election, white Evangelical Christians, white men without a college degree, and those living in rural areas are those who are more likely to say the results are not accurate.

  • Nearly one in five Trump supporters (18%) accept the election results.

  • Republicans, white Evangelical Christians, and Trump supporters are more likely than any other demographic groups to say Trump should not concede.

  • Close to one in three Trump supporters (32%) say Trump should formally concede.

A majority of registered voters (56%) approve of how Biden is doing on the transition. 29% disapprove, and 16% are unsure. In 2016, Trump received a 49% approval rating during his presidential transition period. 42% disapproved, and 9% were unsure.

“Despite a brutal election season, President-elect Biden is getting a positive reaction as he moves forward through the transition to taking office,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist Poll. “Trump was a much more polarizing figure during the transition four years ago.”

Biden’s favorable rating is lukewarm although improved from late summer. 47% now have a favorable opinion of the president-elect, and 43% have an unfavorable one. In August, 42% had a positive impression of Biden. 49% had a negative one.

Nearly six in ten registered voters (59%) think President-elect Biden will do more to unite the country than to divide it (35%). This is in stark contrast with voters’ impressions of President Trump during his 2016 transition. At that time, 43% reported Trump would do more to unite the country, and 53% said Trump would do more to divide it.

Majorities of registered voters are confident in Biden’s ability as president to handle the coronavirus, provide good leadership, represent all Americans, keep America safe, appoint the best people, and handle foreign policy. They divide about Biden’s ability to grow the economy. On most questions where trend exists from 2016, Biden outperforms Trump. The two are comparable on the issue of safety. During Trump’s transition, though, he outperformed what Biden now receives on the economy.

Biden’s Ability to Handle Issues

Source: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll National Registered Voters. Interviews conducted Dec. 1st – Dec. 6th, 2020, n=916 MOE +/- 4.0%

Other Findings

Acceptance of Coronavirus Vaccine Grows

Americans have become more comfortable with the idea of receiving a coronavirus vaccine. 61% report they will take a vaccine if one becomes available to them. This is a jump from 49% in September. 32% say they will not take a vaccine, down from 44%. The change has been across party lines.

The Risk of the Coronavirus

Americans continue to perceive the coronavirus as a real threat (70%) and not an issue which has been blown out of proportion (27%). These findings are nearly identical to those reported in October.

73% of Americans think it is a good idea to institute a national mandate which requires people to wear a mask in public places. This is up from 65% in October. 25% say such a mandate is a bad idea, down from 32%. A majority of Americans (51%) think a national stay-at-home order is a good idea. 45% say it is a bad one.

Americans consider many activities which were once common before the pandemic to now pose a risk to their health. More than eight in ten Americans perceive a risk in going to in-person gatherings of friends or family who do not live in their household (39% major risk/42% minor risk) or dining-in at a restaurant (34% major risk/47% minor risk). More than seven in ten think it is a risk to travel for the holidays (51% major risk/28% minor risk), allow schools to have in-person learning (36% major risk/40% minor risk), or attend church (39% major risk/34% minor risk). Of note, 51% consider traveling for the holidays to be a major risk.

To minimize the risk of coronavirus, residents nationally are taking precautions. Most are wearing a mask or facial covering when they leave their home (88%), washing their hands more often (88%), avoiding large gatherings (87%), or are cutting back on the places they go (84%). Fewer Americans (62%) are receiving the flu shot to minimize the risk of coronavirus.

While Democrats are more likely than Republicans to take these measures, at least a majority of Republicans – on most questions, at least, seven in ten Republicans – are also doing so.

Coronavirus as a Threat: Trend

Source: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll National Adults. Interviews conducted Dec. 1st – Dec. 6th, 2020, n=1065 MOE +/- 3.7%

The Toll of the Coronavirus

The coronavirus is personal for many Americans. 68% say they or someone they personally know has had coronavirus. The impact crosses party, region, income level, gender, and age.

A notable proportion of Americans are also feeling the economic impact of coronavirus. 40% report they or a member of their household has lost a job or income due to the coronavirus. 60% have not. Those under the age of 45 (51%) are more affected by the economic impact than those 45 or older (31%).

More than two in three Americans (67%) do not think the government has done enough to provide economic relief during the coronavirus pandemic. 29% say the government has done enough.

Compromise in Washington, D.C.

About two-thirds of Americans (66%) think it is more important for government officials in Washington to compromise to find solutions rather than to stand on principle (25%). These findings are consistent with those last reported in December 2016. 77% of Democrats, 69% of independents, and 53% of Republicans are looking for lawmakers in Washington to find middle ground and avoid stalemate.

Trump’s Performance in Office

President Trump’s job performance stands at 43% among Americans, including 30% who strongly approve of the job he is doing in office. 52%, including 41% who strongly do so, disapprove of his job performance. In November, Trump’s approval rating was 42% with 57% saying they disapproved.

50% of Americans approve of how Trump is handling the economy while 45% disapprove. U.S. adults divided in October with 47% saying they approved and 46% saying they disapproved.

Americans have a weak impression of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic (37% approve, and 59% disapprove). This is relatively unchanged from Trump’s October ratings.

Trump in 2024?

Many Americans have had enough of a Trump administration. 60% report they do not want Trump to run for president in 2024. 32% of Americans – driven mainly by Republicans (67%), those who voted for Trump this year (68%), and, to a lesser degree, white Evangelical Christians (49%) – want to see Trump stage a comeback. White men without a college degree divide (47% yes to 45% no).