Poll: Plurality of voters say unemployment benefits should be extended for the duration of pandemic

Thirty-five percent of registered voters believe the $600-per-week increase in unemployment benefits should be extended for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, no matter the cost, a new Hill-HarrisX poll finds.

The $600 increase was part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act Congress passed in March to combat the economic fallout from the pandemic. That provision is set to expire July 31. 

One-quarter of voters in the July 17-20 survey say they should be allowed to expire. 

Seventeen percent believe they should be extended for another four months, 15 percent say they should be extended for another month only, and 9 percent say they should be extended for an additional eight months.

The survey found majority bipartisan support for extending the benefits for at least one more month. 

Twenty-three percent of Republican voters, 36 percent of independent voters, and 43 percent of Democratic voters said the benefits should be extended for however long the coronavirus pandemic lasts.

The poll comes as lawmakers in Congress negotiate the details for the fifth coronavirus relief package.

"Frankly, the bottom line is that a majority want to have unemployment benefits extended," Mallory Newall, Director of Research at Ipsos, told Hill.TV.

A new Reuters-Ipsos survey found bipartisan support for a number of pandemic relief initiatives, including additional unemployment payments.

The Hill-HarrisX poll was conducted online among 2,829 registered voters between July 17 and 20. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.84 percentage points.

Gabriela Schulte