A new pair of polls show that a bipartisan majority of Americans are concerned about the U.S. Postal Service and want more money directed to the agency—results released just days before the Democrat-held U.S. House is set to vote on legislation to provide the USPS with $25 billion in emergency funding and restore mail operations disrupted by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's recent controversial policy changes.
Reuters/Ipsos polling results published Wednesday show that 78% of Americans surveyed, including 92% of Democrats and 67% of Republicans, agree "a well-functioning United States Postal Service is important to having a smooth and successful election during the coronavirus pandemic."
The poll, conducted August 14-18, also found that almost three-quarters of respondents, including 88% of Democrats and 60% of Republicans, agree "funding for the United States Postal Service should be increased to ensure Americans' mail gets delivered in a timely fashion."
(Reuters) - A bipartisan majority of Americans want the government to spend more money on the U.S. Postal Service, and most agree that mail delivery will be a vital part of the November election, a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll released on Weds found https://t.co/AdE7yVJUfx
— League of Women Voters of Ohio (@lwvohio) August 19, 2020
The Reuters/Ipsos survey came a day after the release of Data for Progress polling that found "by substantial margins, nearly all segments of voters prefer the USPS be funded as an essential service like the military, rather requiring it to cover its own costs like a business."
Overall, 58% of people polled by Data for Progress, a progressive think tank, expressed support for treating the USPS as an essential service. Majorities of both Democratic voters (75%) and Independent or third-party voters (52%) agreed with this approach, compared with only 43% of Republican voters.
Data for Progress also asked voters whether they have sent mail via the Postal Service in the past two weeks; think mail service has gotten worse in the past month; are concerned about a top Trump donor being appointed to run the agency; are worried about reported slow-downs in USPS service; and support $25 billion in emergency funding for the agency to update and digitize its infrastructure as part of a coronavirus relief bill.
Voters think that the Postal Service is an essential public good - not a target for privatization.
— Jason Ganz (@jasnonaz) August 18, 2020
A majority of voters across the political spectrum (61%) are somewhat or very concerned about DeJoy's appointment just months before the November election that will heavily rely on mail-in voting because of the ongoing pandemic. While 86% of Democrats expressed some degree of concern, that sentiment was shared by only 39% of Republicans.
Similarly, 60% of all voters are somewhat or very concerned about reported slow-downs of mail service. There was also a partisan divide with this question, with 78% of Democrats worried about service delays compared with just 46% of Republicans.
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In terms of the $25 billion in funding, 63% of all voters said they somewhat or strongly support it, including 79% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans.
"Quick recap: EVERYONE LOVES THE USPS!" the American Postal Workers Union tweeted Tuesday in response to the Data for Progress polling results.
in a new @DataProgress blog we look at voters's attitudes towards the USPS
- 63% support $25 billion in additional funding
- 58% see the USPS as an essential service, not a business
- 47% are "very concerned" about DeJoy's appointmenthttps://t.co/tQ8PFBrmB3
— ethan winter (@EthanBWinter) August 18, 2020
Although public pressure led DeJoy, a GOP donor appointed under President Donald Trump, to announce Tuesday that he would "suspend" changes to Postal Service operations until after the November election, postal workers and union leaders are still warning that the damage inflicted by the removal of mail sorting machines and other policies could be difficult to reverse.
"Earlier today, I spoke with Postmaster General DeJoy regarding his alleged pause in operational changes," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeted Wednesday afternoon. "During our conversation, he admitted he has no intention of replacing the sorting machines, blue mailboxes, and other infrastructure that have been removed."
In the midst of widespread outrage and alarm that DeJoy's changes could disenfranchise voters, and allegations that the postmaster general and the president are attempting to "sabotage" the election, Pelosi announced Sunday that she was calling House members back from recess to Washington, D.C. early to vote this coming Saturday on related legislation.
The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act that House Democrats passed in May would have allocated $25 billion to the USPS, a figure that Pelosi has said is recommended by the service's board of governors. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has refused to allow a vote on that legislation.
The bill that the House plans to vote on Saturday was unveiled Wednesday. It is an updated version of Rep. Carolyn Maloney's (D-N.Y.) Delivering for America Act. In addition to the funding and requirements to restore mail service to "pre-DeJoy levels," the measure would also mandate that all ballots and other election-related mail be treated as first class.
This post has been updated to reflect that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was appointed by the USPS Board of Governors during President Donald Trump's administration.