How the George Floyd Killing and the Covid-19 Pandemic affected the American Voter

September 21, 2020

In search for interesting data about voters, I found a series of survey questions attempting to measure how voters feel about the country today.

Buried within a July, 2020 national survey of 3080 interviews with US voters conducted by the University of Michigan and Stanford University under the American National Election Studies auspices, I found this series of emotion measuring questions.

The timing of this survey followed the George Floyd killing and the ensuing protests and, of course, the Covid-19 Pandemic.

The interesting part of this group of questions is that it doesn’t identify either the Floyd killing or any of the resulting protests/riots that followed this horrific event or the Covid virus. It only asks how emotionally the respondent feels about the country today. To my knowledge this is the first time the results of this series has been published. Let me be clear, it does not reference any candidate or political party. These are raw emotional reactions to the national upheaval.

This is what academics call a pilot study, which is a preliminary survey using questions submitted by researchers from around the country. These questions are considered unique and usually have not been used in previous polls. After the survey is completed, the responses are evaluated for measurement value and considered for the inclusion in a main election survey.

The seven charts below show the responses to the questions. The responses range from “not at all” to “extremely.” I’m going to concentrate on the “very” and “extremely” responses, since these should express severe emotional responses.

All questions are preceded by the phrase “Generally speaking, how do you feel the way things are going in the country these days?” and followed by a statement. I’m not going to comment on this data, mainly because you could interpret them in several different ways. That is both it’s strength and weakness.

As a tip, concentrate on the extreme responses which will likely measure voters’ intensity on the issue. Feel free to leave a comment below on what you think voters are expressing with their reactions.






Be safe…

By Jim Kane

Jim Kane is a pollster and media advisor, and was for fifteen years an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. Kane is founder of the polling firm USAPoll and served as the Director of the Florida Voter Poll. His political clients have included both Republican and Democratic candidates, including the Republican Party of Florida, and both the Sun-Sentinel and Orlando Sentinel newspapers. At the University of Florida, Professor Kane taught graduate level courses in political science on Survey Research, Lobbying and Special Interest Groups in America, Political Campaigning, and Political Behavior. In addition to his professional and academic career, Jim Kane has been actively involved in local and state policy decisions. He was elected to the Broward County Soil and Water Conservation Board (1978-1982) and the Port Everglades Authority (1988-1994). Kane also served as an appointed member of the Broward County Planning Council (1995-2003), Broward County Management Review Committee (Chair, 1990-1991), Broward County Consumer Protection Board (1976-1982), and the Broward County School Board Consultants Review Committee (1986-1990).

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