Swing-state voters cite pandemics as top concern, less worried by China threat: poll

Swing-state voters cite pandemics as top concern, less worried by China threat: poll
© Getty Images

Voters in 12 battleground states rank fighting global pandemics as a greater concern than standing up to China, according to a survey by Democratic pollster Geoff Garin.

Forty-five percent of likely voters in the survey called protecting against pandemics their top priority, compared to 25 percent who said the same in March.

Twenty-nine percent, including 41 percent of Republicans, named terrorism as a top concern in the election, making it the second-highest concern.

ADVERTISEMENT

The poll was conducted for the anti-Trump advocacy group National Security Action.

"The fact that terrorism's been replaced in this way, at least for this election, by keeping Americans safe from pandemics is a very significant development," Garin told NBC News.

The poll found 59 percent of respondents disapprove of President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Among those listing the virus as their top issue, 71 percent disapproved of the president's handling of the pandemic.

Trump has frequently framed the pandemic not as a failure of U.S. policy but as an illustration of the threat of China, where the virus is believed to have originated in a wet market in the city of Wuhan. He has also depicted Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Jayapal says tuition-free community college 'probably won't' be in spending plan Jan. 6 panel votes to hold Bannon in contempt MORE as being soft on China and himself as standing up to Beijing on behalf of U.S. interests.

However, the poll found 60 percent of respondents want the U.S. to "maintain a constructive relationship with China and resolve our differences diplomatically,” while 40 percent believe it should be "aggressive in confronting China on trade and security issues, even at the risk of a more hostile relationship."

The divisions on U.S.-China policy are predominantly partisan, with most GOP respondents supporting a more aggressive tack compared to a majority of Democrats who back a diplomatic approach, according to the survey.

The poll surveyed 1,228 likely voters from Sept. 4-11 in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. It has a 3-point margin of error.