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Public Affairs Pulse Survey 2020

By September 14, 2020September 13th, 2023Pulse (CT)

Public Affairs Pulse Survey – 2020

What Americans Think About Business

Read the Full Report

Americans Concerned about Election Integrity and Government Response to COVID-19

The Public Affairs Council and Morning Consult explored public attitudes and expectations for major companies and elected officials.

Fewer than 1/3 of Americans Believe Elections Will Be Open and Honest

The 2020 Public Affairs Pulse survey finds that with just weeks to go before Election Day, most Americans have doubts about the fairness of the voting process. Concern about election integrity and voting access is widespread. And only 29% of Americans have faith that the 2020 elections will be conducted in an honest and open way.

Business Gets Higher Marks for Handling the Pandemic than Government

The public is critical of the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and believes the private sector has done a better job of balancing safety concerns with the need to re-open the economy. Four in 10 (41%) Americans say the federal government has done a poor job balancing health and safety concerns with the need to re-open the economy. Only 27% rate the feds’ performance as good or excellent.

Racism is a Serious Problem, Americans want Businesses to Act

Three-out-of-four Americans (74%) believe racism is a somewhat or very serious problem in the U.S. Survey results show if a major company takes steps to prevent racism, public opinion becomes more favorable. Companies who have issued statements pledging to reduce racism are generally given the benefit of the doubt.

Public Acceptance of PACs on the Rise

The most preferred method for financing political campaigns is for candidates to spend their own money (70% approval). Individual contributions also rank high at 67% approval. Public support for political action committees (PACs) has risen by 4 percentage points in this year’s survey to 55%. This level of support cuts across party lines with 57% of Democrats and 61% of Republicans approving of PACs. Super PACs have taken a dip, however, with only 40% approving of them.


This poll was conducted between August 19-21, 2020 among a national sample of 2,199 Adults. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of Adults based on age, educational attainment, gender, race and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Past Pulse Surveys

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Slides and infographics highlighting survey results are available for members to use for company briefings. Our senior staff are also frequently called on to make presentations on topics covered in the Public Affairs Pulse.