The coronavirus may be boosting Republican support for family and medical leave


Congress lately handed an emergency regulation providing two weeks of paid go away for certified employees who’ve covid-19 or are caring for somebody who does. The regulation additionally requires 12 weeks at two-thirds pay however just for dad and mom caring for youngsters dwelling from closed colleges and child-care services. These advantages are set to run out on the finish of 2020. We requested respondents whether or not they’d help a extra expansive and everlasting well being household go away plan. Right here’s what we realized.

How we did our analysis

PPC fielded a web-based survey with a nationally consultant pattern of three,421 registered voters from Nielsen Scarborough’s bigger pattern of respondents, who have been recruited by mail and phone utilizing a random pattern of households. The primary wave ran from March 5 to 10 with a pattern that included 1,352 respondents for a margin of error of +/- 2.7 p.c. The second wave ran from March 11 to 25, with a pattern that included 2,069 respondents for a margin of error of +/- 2.2 p.c.

We administered what’s known as a “policymaking simulation” survey, the purpose of which is to simulate a policymaker’s expertise in coming to a call. Respondents got a briefing on a proposal based mostly on the FAMILY Act (H.R. 1185; S. 463) and the PAID Depart Act (S. 3513), which have been launched on this Congress however haven’t but made it out of committee.

As described within the survey, the proposal would require employers to supply as much as 12 weeks of go away for workers recovering from a critical well being situation, caring for a member of the family with one, or caring from a newly born or adopted youngster — way more intensive than the present short-term household and medical go away program. Staff would obtain two-thirds of their wages, as much as a most of $4,000/month, from a federal authorities fund supported by a brand new payroll tax of 0.62 p.c of workers’ salaries, coated evenly by the employer and the worker.

Along with the briefing, respondents have been introduced strongly acknowledged arguments for and in opposition to the proposal and requested to judge each by way of how convincing they discovered it. All content material was reviewed by the laws’s supporters and opponents to make sure an correct and balanced briefing and the strongest doable arguments. Solely then have been respondents requested for his or her ultimate suggestion for or in opposition to the proposal.

What we discovered

We discovered that, because the pandemic worsened, help for extra expansive and everlasting household medical go away went up — particularly amongst older Republican respondents.

The primary wave of the survey was carried out from March 5 to 10, when the US had recognized only some covid-19 instances. General, 61 p.c of our respondents supported the proposal — however simply 38 p.c of Republicans did.

We ran the second wave of the survey from March 11 to 25, throughout which era the pandemic was spreading quickly, President Trump declared a nationwide state of emergency and states started issuing stay-at-home orders. Throughout this wave, Republican help jumped 10 proportion factors to 48 p.c, or practically half. Independents’ help rose from 62 to 66 p.c, whereas Democrats’ help inched up from 83 to 86 p.c. General, help leaped from 61 to 67 p.c.

Amongst Republicans 65 and older, help jumped 13 factors from 25 p.c to 38 p.c. Amongst Republicans ages 18 to 34, help was already pretty excessive within the first wave at 56 p.c, and edged up solely to 59 p.c.

Republicans seem to have internal battle

The survey technique used lets us see extra deeply into how respondents deliberate on the difficulty. This was significantly illuminating for Republicans, who confirmed various ambivalence, with giant majorities reporting that each the arguments for and in opposition to the proposal sounded convincing. This was true in early March, however grew to become sharper in later March.

Not surprisingly, three-quarters of Republicans discovered convincing the classical conservative argument that “America doesn’t want one other middle-class entitlement program that’s inefficient and wasteful” and that such applications ought to be left to employers. Likewise, 73 p.c discovered convincing one other argument that harassed that this system would entail a tax improve.

On the similar time, practically as many Republicans — absolutely 71 p.c — discovered convincing the argument in favor of medical go away that “Surprising diseases occur and folks will exhaust their unusual sick go away” and that with only a small contribution from everybody, a security web may shield all of them. The identical quantity additionally discovered convincing the argument for household go away that enabling individuals to care for youngsters was necessary, and that youngsters who couldn’t be cared for may find yourself being a burden to society at giant.

In different phrases, most Republicans are internally divided, discovering persuasive arguments each for and in opposition to paid well being and household go away. This was mirrored of their ultimate suggestions, which have been nearly evenly divided for and in opposition to the proposal.

In abstract, earlier than the U.S. coronavirus disaster took off, a majority of Individuals already supported a brand new paid household and medical go away plan; Republicans have been opposed, however ambivalently so. Because the disaster worsened, Republicans more and more supported the plan, turning into practically divided. As extra Individuals sicken within the coming months, will Republicans’ opinions preserve shifting? And in that case, will that have an effect on what Congress does?

Steven Kull is director of the Program for Public Session, a part of the Faculty of Public Coverage on the College of Maryland, and of Voice Of the Individuals (@VOPorg), a nonpartisan group that seeks to present the general public a simpler voice in authorities.

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