Political Consultant Frank Luntz Discusses Social Unrest, The Economy, and COVID-19

Wednesday, August 5, 2020 - Political consultant Frank Luntz discusses America's social unrest, the economy, and how Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the election.

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Frank Luntz is an American political and communications consultant, pollster, and pundit and the author of Words That Work. His well-known focus groups often highlight the importance of language in shaping public opinion and policy. Today, he will discuss the social unrest in America, the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic and the disappointing leadership coming from both political parties at the moment.

Frank Luntz notes a few unprecedented developments in public opinion. Racial equality protests are broadly supported across racial groups in a way they never were in the past. And the medical profession has approval ratings in the 70s, making it one of the few institutions seen positively at the moment. Before this crisis, President Trump was receiving high marks from the public on the economy, but now that has collapsed along with his overall approval rating.

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In this Episode

Read through the episode below of jump to a section or question that interests you.

Frank Luntz Opening Remarks

Frank Luntz:
Thank you. And I do want to acknowledge to those of you because you'll hear it later on. So it just makes me feel better. I had a stroke in January and it sometimes affects my language. I will trip over a word or two. Don't worry about it. If my voice gets hoarse, there's no pain in it. I'm just trying to basically get through the day. And when I get this many people on a call, I get very nervous, and that I never used to do.

The greatest thing about being impaired is that you suddenly are humble. It used to be that I would go into any debate, any discussion. I would do a call like this and just zoom into it. Wouldn't do any kind of preparation. And now I've got everything sitting in front of me. So I got three different topics for you all. And I want to do them separately in breaks so that we can do Q&A and have a discussion.

We're going to do social unrest first, I'm going to do the economy second, and also COVID third. And all of this is based, or it's being presented in the lens of politics because we have a party right now that is out of touch, a party that is not communicating as well as it could. And then we've got the Republican Party, which is just a disaster.

And so, I'm here to lay claim to both political parties, not really understanding what's going on and at a time that you worked so hard to get so many members to cooperate and to compromise that actually the rhetoric that's going on, my TV is about 20 feet from here, has never been worse. And I'll say to you as a way to begin this, and I never thought I dreamed that I would be watching on CNN when a CNN contributor, a paid contributor of CNN talked about bringing down the Washington monument and the Jefferson Memorial because of what they represented.

That someone from CNN said that it is legitimate to take these down. I just don't understand. I don't understand. And I'm hoping that No Labels can address this so that we do not destroy those things that made America America as we seek to fix it, improve it, recognize our mistakes, be humble, be respectful, and be civil to each other. So let's start with the civil unrest because that is what's bringing the greatest anger. And again, I will stop after five minutes, do questions. I'm going to do three topics if you want me to. Right now-

That's a great format, Frank. Thank you. That'd be terrific.

Frank Luntz:
68% of the public supports the protest, two thirds, including 64%, two thirds of white Americans for the first time ever. You had a fair number of people, citizens of color, who were supportive in the 1990s, who was supportive in the 1960s, but you really did have a racial disparity. Now you have almost as many white Americans as black Americans supporting the protests and how they are handled.

59% of the population and this is a shock to me and this is where I've gotten the most attention and I need to emphasize it because it's where you have the furthest to go. 59% of Americans now feel favorably towards Black Lives Matter. If you went back 60 days, Black Lives Matter was a fringe group. Did not even have the support of majority of Democrats, barely added the support of majority of African Americans.

Today 59% of the entire country support them favorably, including 53% of white Americans. And to put this in perspective, the exact same percentage, 59% have a favorable view of the police right now. So the same percentage likes Black Lives Matter and likes the police. It tells you how far the police have fallen, and it tells you how high black live matters have climbed.

And to get into institutions because they are important right now and they should matter to your organization. Everything has fallen. Right now the national guard and the military have dropped 15 points because they were used by Donald Trump. And what he probably doesn't realize is the damage that he did to their credibility. The Supreme Court has now been polarized, obviously Congress and the House and the Senate are at all time levels.

There's only one institution now that has more than 70%. And by the way, the clergy is down in the upper 50s. Now the highest, most supported institution in America are doctors and nurses and medical professionals. They combined have a low 70s credibility favorability. There was a time when they were this popular, but it has not been since the 1980s, that because of challenges to them under the Clintons and under the Obamas, they they've fallen into the 60s, and 50s, and 40s.

And they had fallen into the upper 30s in the last couple years of the Obama administration. Now they are in the low 70s. The American people trust them, listen to them. And I would say to No Labels, and I will do this strategy back and forth as well. Not just present your data. No Labels should be seeking to embrace medical professionals wherever they can, because they are not seen as partisan. They're not seen as political.

They are seen as serving. And this was an important phrase, serving the American people, serving their patients. We are all now, all of us seen as taking advantage of the system, taking advantage of society. There's hardly anyone on this call who you could not find in some way as seen as contributing to the damage that has happened over the last two weeks, not the medical profession.

Couple more to tell you. 49% believe that it's police brutality. I'm sorry. Let me flip this. 41% believe that it's the police and Donald Trump that have contributed to the violence and the brutality, and 49%, which is less than the majority who basically think that it's been peaceful. And that blows me away that it's basically a 50/50 examination of who's responsible for what's going on right now. And that tells you how much stuff have changed.

Only 16% support cuts for funding for police department, 65% are opposed. And so, if you get involved in that or your supporters start to support that language of defund the police, they're making a big mistake. Let me show you the difference between Trump and Biden. Right now, in terms of handling the protest, 36% are favorable towards Biden. 59% disapprove. 36, 59. For Joe Biden, who basically just gave one speech at the funeral, it's 45 approved 38% disapproved.

So the more that Trump speaks bluntly, the more that Trump speaks, the worse that he gets, the less that Biden speaks, the better he gets. And finally, to show you the difference between localities and the country. We asked the question whether race relations in your local community are good and bad. And whether race relations in the US are good or bad, and then I'm going to you for questions. So I hope you have them.

65% say they're good in their local community, 35% bad. So two to one. In the country, 28% good, 72% bad. So almost three to one negative. The closer you are at home, the close you are to your representation, which is why mayors are more popular. Governors are a little bit less popular, and members of Congress are totally unpopular. And I don't know if we have members of Congress on here, but if you are, you are failing.

Republicans have a nine percent approval rating. Democrats House members is 17% approval rating. It is among its worst ever, but we see things in our local community and we say, "They're okay." We see things as we look across the country and we say, "It's not, and it really needs to be changed." So I wanted to give you kind of an understanding of where things are in race relations. We'll do the economy and we'll do COVID if you want. But let me go to some questions right now.

Are we doing the right thing?

what does it tell you that the group you're on with has made it its entire business to do nothing but support the most unpopular 535 people in the country? Are we doing the right thing?

Frank Luntz:
To use a name, I'm going to guess on your last name, to say that some sugar, from some sugar, I think you have to do it. I'm going to give you an idea. And I'm stealing this from Andrew Shue, the actor who is the activist would do something. And Tim Shriver, we had this conversation yesterday. I am stealing this. This is theirs, but I'm looking at a way to support a voters rights act for 2020. And this is coming from a Republican.

How can you defend any of you the idea that you have to put your health on the line to vote when we know that you need social distancing, we know that our machine systems are just broken everywhere? The idea that you should be able to choose whether you vote online or whether you vote by a mail or you go to in person, that it should not be a difficult choice under the principle that every human being has the right to vote. So I think we need to deal with money. And a third example of the voter rights act of 2020 is redistricting. And this is very tough because of the Supreme Court, but don't we believe in one person, one vote and don't we believe that people should be able to vote in communities in neighborhoods in not have them split up to elect a Republican in this district and elected Democrat in another?

I don't know if these are the right issues. I do know that people have the right to vote. And so I'm playing with this in June of 2020, I'm playing with language, I'm playing with issues and I'm informing you of it. And then I get off the phone and then you debate about it. But if you are successful in Congress, then you can go to the gubernatorial level and the mayoral level. But let's face it, if we can't fix Congress, how are we going to fix our political system? That is a great question.

How likely is it that Trump can turn the polls around?

Murray Levin:
Thanks for joining us today, Frank, I'm enjoying your remarks. You mentioned some figures about Trump and Biden, which would seem to be very favorable to Biden at this time. And in fact, the cable stations have been engaging in a kind of kumbaya for Biden for the last two days based on these polls. My question is, how volatile is the public? How long lasting are these images, which are after all taken, perhaps over a period a day or two? How likely is it that Trump can turn them around? Talk about that in general.

Frank Luntz:
Okay. And that's very good because we learned a lot from the 2016 campaign when Hillary Clinton ended her convention. I think she was nine points up. Now she still won by two percent. I want to emphasize that. Hillary Clinton won the election by two percent, she just won the wrong two percent. Go back a little bit earlier. Gerald Ford was behind by 33 points to Jimmy Carter after the conventions. And he loses by two.

Michael Dukakis was beating George Herbert Walker Bush by 17 points. He loses by eight. The most close of all and the one that's closest to this, Ronald Reagan was down by one point to Jimmy Carter on the Thursday before the Tuesday election. They debated that night. Ronald Reagan did very well in that debate and he won by nine points. By this is way, way too close to call.

I do not trust the polling that shows not by 14, but you know Trump's an idiot, sorry, but he's an idiot when he's suing. And by the way, Nancy, you're going to tell me how many lawsuits I'm going to trigger because of this conversation. How the heck do you sue CNN for a 14 point poll? If that's not a sugar, I don't know what it is. You can't sue someone, they're wrong.

But by the way, and I don't know where you guys stand on him. But John McLaughlin was brought in also that some of you may know was brought in to defend Trump's polling and attack CNN. Here's the guy who told Eric Cantor, the greatest majority leader, would have been speaker of the House, that he's going to win by, I don't know, 30 points? This is not the blind leading the blind. This is honestly Helen Keller offering to take you across the street. This is insane.

But I want to say one thing about Joe Biden now, he is not going to win this election. I'm sorry to always support him. And I did not realize it would be 141 people on this. I am making enemies. This is the fastest any human being has ever made enemies on this call. Joe Biden has to be able to complete a sentence or he's not going to be elected president. And I mean this not as a joke.

The public is not going to vote for somebody that cannot complete a thought, that cannot explain where they stand, and forget what they're talking about. Biden's speech, and I was there buying at Biden's speech at John McCain's funeral. And I said, "This man is going to be president United States." It made me cry. I'd known Joe since 1987. I love him. And he loves me. He really does. He and I, Trump thinks I'm a schmuck, Joe Biden hugs me and kisses me and stops entire precessions to talk.

But he has forgotten where he is. This is not fake editing. This is not fake news and America right now needs somebody not only who can walk across the aisle, but can tell a joke and not forget the punchline, can give us the three things that we need to do and not forget after issue one. And we have a problem with both candidates right now,

Is this time different?

So the question of the day with the social unrest seems to be, is this time different? Will there be changes with respect to civil rights? Is there polling support that, but what does it tell us?

Frank Luntz:
It absolutely tells us that we're not going to go back, that we're going to make this happen. And by the way, you win the award for looking most like Steven Spielberg of anybody on this call. We are going to make those changes. And here's what's really, really weird to me. Someone said to me that the issue raised is not a black issue. It's a white issue. That if you don't address issues in the white community, how are you going to change the conditions in the black community?

And I thought, "Holy crap, that's really amazing." But the anti-white sentiment that's coming from some of the black community. And I know that Leland's going to give me a hard time over this, but I am in that philosophy right now more deeply than ever, that we all need to hear each other's injustices and indignities and respect them and address them and work as hard as we can to fix them now, not after the election, but right now.

But there is so much hate as part of the language. And look, I watch every cable news network. I don't know if you all do. I don't know if you're committed to CNN and I can only see five people. I can see 25 people on at one time, I'm going to do a test and I can't see the people in the back, but you can't tell whether you're in the back or not. I think it's a different order.

So by a show of hands and Kenneth, you need to sit up because I can see you otherwise. And Michael Kurtzman, if you can get a little bit higher, and Michael Morgan has actually died. So I guess his vote is not going to count. Please give me a show of hands. If you picked a news network that you're most likely to watch, and then you have CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, the BBC, or CNBC, you got five choices here.

Everyone participate even though I can't see everyone. Who is most likely to watch a MSNBC? Raise your hands. I see two hands going up. Who is more likely to watch CNN? One, two, three, four, five, hands going up. Who is more likely to watch Fox? Three, four hands going up, a clap. And by the way, the Strokers, you only count as one vote. You don't count as two.

Who is more likely to watch the BBC? Three hands. I'm going to tell you something. And this may not be a question you asked me, but I watched the BBC for my news, because it doesn't tell me what's going on in LA, but it does tell me what's going on in America. And it's actually to me the most objective right now, because America is suffering. So they're not trying to show that we're doing badly. They're trying to show what's going on. And we need to know what's happening in the world.

I'm using ideas right now that is happening in Britain and in Italy. I'm using ideas in South Korea to take back to America in terms of communication, in terms of strategy. And I've never seen the global community more important than right now. But in terms of my newspapers, you see me in the New York Times, multiple times in the last two days. But I understand what the New York Times is. And it is not helpful to the mission of No Labels.

There was nothing in the New York times. It says that any Republican has done anything good since Abraham Lincoln ended the Civil War in 1865. It is really awful. And while the stories are well-written, the idea that editorial page editor, who I knew who was Michael Bennet's brother, you have to allow a point of view that you don't believe, just one.

I'm looking at the homes of you all back there. And a lot of you got books behind you and not every book is written by a Democrat and not every book you own is written by a Republican. You have to allow somebody to disagree with you. We do it in our church, in our synagogue. We do it in our schools. Why have we become so monolithic in our political opinion that we cannot read something or receive something that we disagree with?

I'm saying to No Labels that you got to challenge that, because in the end, having 60 congressmen, 30 congressmen, you'll tell me how many congressmen, on your side is not enough if the media doesn't say, "Enough is enough."

The Economy

Frank Luntz:
Okay. First, Donald Trump's approval rating for the economy is 47%, 51 disapprove. That is actually the highest issue that he is handling. If I had done this presentation even one month ago, Trump handling the economy, being the mid to upper 50s. He is falling on everything.

And this is at a time when we think that the economy might not be so bad as we were expecting. Now, here's where I want to show you the difference and a perspective that matters. And I cannot advise you, Rob, you're going to figure out where this works. But when you ask people how serious a problem is unemployment in the US, 51% give it the top box, very serious.

But ask them how serious unemployment is in your local community, only 26%. How afraid are you of losing your job? It's only 16%. The closer you get to the individual and the neighborhood and the community, the more positive people feel about the economy, about race, about everything. The further you get away from your home, when you get to your state of your country, we're polling right now in California. We're polling in Michigan, we're polling in Florida. So I get a chance to see these individual states.

The more you ask it on a national basis, the more negative you become. It is fascinating to me that things are okay on our own front yard, but they're really bad in somebody else's. And you know the saying used to be exactly the opposite. The grass is always greener in somebody else's yard. Now it's interesting to me also, and this is important, because I know we got some finance people here.

What is the best indicator of how well the national economy is doing? Sorry, Mr. Trump, 10% say the stock market. The last, the dead last 13% say their personal finances, which is actually pretty cool that it's that low. My big warning is the second highest 25% choose the prices of goods and services. And the highest is the unemployment rate. So Donald Trump is trying to say that the stock market is doing so well and it is doing well for a lot of people.

I just want you all to know that I sold everything before the market rebounded because I was scared. That means I'm going to charge you double. You pay me nothing. I'm going to charge you double that for this call. They're not listening to Trump about the market. They're watching the unemployment. And if the unemployment is above 10%, I don't see how you repair the perception.

Even though they don't blame him for COVID, the fact that he's saying, "Hey, look at the stock market," and people looking at unemployment, that's going to hurt him. But it's that underlying issue, the cost of things. I'm watching the cost of gasoline. He's lucky that it's gone down, the cost of food, the cost of health care. We care about cost. And by the time we get to September, and I am curious whether there are any members on, because this is a good note for you.

If the cost of healthcare does go up and goes up noticeably at a time when so many of us needed over COVID, that will be devastating for those candidates running for reelection. In terms of political advantage, and this is the last time I'm going to do it because I really don't want to get into that presidential campaign. But Trump has a 13 point advantage in cutting unemployment that he can handle it. A 30%, he can handle it better.

11% think that he can handle the economy better. So even though his numbers have slipped, he's still better off than Biden. And this is what's fascinating, on China, 43% think Trump can deal with it better, 40% Biden. So you might ask, "Why the hell is Donald Trump talking about China's so often when he's got a nothing lead?" I think it's because nobody's telling him the truth. I think it's because nobody's doing briefings like this.

Basically making everybody angry, but telling the truth. There really is no difference between the two of them. And so I don't understand why they're making it such a big issue. And Rob, one more data. When it comes to the federal government and the economy, which of the following comes closest to your opinion? And people are asking, why does the public support so strongly the bailouts? And here's the answer.

And this is another way that politics has changed. Now we never expected. And this is an issue that matters to you. This is an issue that I know brought a lot of you to this organization. 10% think the federal government is doing too much to improve the economy. 21% think the federal government's doing just the right amount. 61% thinks the federal government needs to do more.

Even asking questions about spending and a majority of Americans support the House approach and a majority of Americans oppose the Senate approach. The Senate approach is to spend nothing, wait until the money runs out and then spend less. the House approach, which was to spend three trillion dollars, and where they're going to get the money, nobody knows. The public believes in deficit spending. They believe in debt spending.

They believe that whatever it takes to keep the economy floating is what the government should do right now. And who would have thought that they would have felt that way even three months ago?

Changes in Demand

So my question is, if you could look a year ahead, obviously things have changed dramatically and they have all kinds of implications and haven't thought through, the government can keep spending like crazy until everything collapses. So the implications of what people want at the moment because of a panic of the combination of things is one thing. But how do you think this will all settle out? We look at it from 12, 18 months from now, where will things wind up?

Frank Luntz:
There are some things that are basic and somethings that are temporary. And I fundamentally believe that we will have a different philosophy towards what is equality, towards affirmative action. We are making and I'm here in LA and the investment that's being made in the black community is so high.

It's why I really want to hear Milken tomorrow because I know that he's going to talk about how you can get not millions, but billions of dollars into South Central, LA and into the Bronx in New York and into areas of Atlanta and Dallas. I do not believe we are going to feel this way about the debt, because I believe that the debt is going to be a crisis for us. We are going to go over the edge.

We're not going to go over the edge now because the federal reserve will not let that happen. And they've actually basically made a deal, which is spent whatever the hell it takes so that we don't have the recession we were going to have or depression. But at a certain point, you cannot keep printing money. And at a certain point, people have to act responsibly and this spending is going to continue. And I'll try to give you one bit of insight.

The House is trying to push for a vote right now. The Senate actually wants to hold the vote till August, because they think that if they can wait until August, they don't have to have another vote before the election. The Senate would like to hold it till September, but they know that that's possible. So the House is going to push, the Senate is going to delay, and the debt is going to become a crisis next year after the election this year.

The Economy and Social Unrest

Isn't the real crux of this in the cities that you talked about, the large cities that we don't live together, we don't even really work together. We don't even go back and forth to work together with people who are from radically different situations that we have. So, there's really no incentive in the minds of many people to actually get along and understand those stories that you so correctly identified that we should all listen to. How are we going to change the structural issues?

Frank Luntz:
And that's a great thing. I'm going to jump you. I should not be doing it. I'm going to apologize to you, but there are 27 people in this queue and [crosstalk 00:35:20]. That is how we have changed. And you even know that I have changed in my politics. I've changed in this belief that now the sense that, because we don't have to see each other, that is no longer an excuse.

I do not believe we're going to be allowed to make excuses for why things like this happen. Police are not going to get defunded and they're not going to get de-constituted, but they aren't going to get retrained. And you have noticed that we've had these violent protests and almost nobody's ended up in the hospital. Why? The police aren't allowed to touch anyone. It's why they stayed back when the looting happens.

In your city of Santa Monica, when buildings went on fire, it's why they did not defend the fire trucks when they started to put the fire out, that they had to wait until the police got there. We have made a decision as a society that no matter what happens, you do not have an excuse to use a choke hold, no matter what happens, you do not have an excuse to let a black perpetrator arrest them and let a white perpetrator go. And that is a fundamental change.

But I want to add one component, Jared, that you're probably not thinking of. Who's thinking about the white poor in Kentucky and the white poor in Tennessee and the white poor in West Virginia? I was there. I did a focus group last year and they're in worse shape than they are in Harlem. Harlem has actually come back as a community. In West Virginia, it's all opioids, it's all crack. And nobody cares about them and nobody's talking about them.

And my hope is that No Labels will be for social justice for everyone, regardless if they are successful businessman, Jared, if they are a fuck up, which is me and Rob, when he was a kid, that it doesn't matter, that we will be intolerant of intolerance. And I'm going to say this again to the weather guy. Yes, we have changed. And it's not just the numbers and it's not just what we see on TV. We will not make as much change as we probably should, but we're going to make a hell of a lot of change in the next 12 months.

Baseball 2020?

Listen, you brought up three agenda items, but I think you left off the one that is closest to your heart and my heart. Are we going to have a baseball season this season?

Frank Luntz:
And I just want to point out. Yes. I had dinner with John Cleese last night from Mighty Python and I was in a very bad mood because the last three days have been very tough for me. And John Cleese says, reminds me of the story of the Jewish women, all having dinner at a wonderful restaurant, great food, great service. The waiter comes over. "Were you happy about anything?"

So Fred, you name the one thing. Are we going to have a baseball season? The answer is actually yes. And it's because basketball is shaming them into it. But you know this and you're an owner. You're part of the nationals. What we need is for players to behave the same way that we're asking citizens to behave. You're not going to get your 100%, you're not even going to hit your 50% because every day you wait, takes that much longer to get the season going.

And they were supposed to start by the 4th of July. You know this, I work with a number of owners and the players are holding firm for now. What will end up happening is we're going to let players opt out. And so, we're going to have a season where we're going to have some of the people that we know from our team and some of the people who aren't. They're going to extend the playoffs because that's where the real money is made.

I don't think they're going to get started July 1st. I think they blown that deadline, but I think they'll get started July 15th. They'll continue the season partially into October. The playoffs will go into November, and they're going to put the world series inside so they can play it and not be playing in 25 degree temperature in Chicago or Boston or Detroit. But I know that you made everybody mad by asking that question. One more question, and we're going to do the last issue, which has health.

African Americans and Trump

Just to show that I'm not a Trump hater, I want to first make sure people understand that under Donald Trump, historically black universities have gotten the highest funding under any president. Number one. Number two is opportunity zones have a chance to be transformative within the African American and brown communities.

Number three, criminal justice reform has been, I think, also a landmark in terms of achievement. Having said all of that, I think to your point, words matter, and he's undermined virtually everything he has done with his negative rhetoric. My question to you is that my thesis is while the people, certainly African American community have been lobbying to have a Biden name a woman of color as VP, what I have said is we should be focused on secretary of treasury, not on the vice presidency. And I'd like your reaction to that.

Frank Luntz:
I never thought of that before. And I do want to share this because I want to be completely open, honest, and transparent. I was invited, even though I sound anti-Trump, I was invited to the White House Christmas party, and I did attend. And I finally got the guts to go up to the president and ask him, "What does the J. in Donald J. Trump stand for?" You know what he told me? Genius.

It would be a mistake for Biden not to choose a vice president who is qualified, that I actually think he's under significant pressure to choose a woman of color. And I would have said to you that there's no way that he could choose Kamala Harris. And I don't think that she's the right choice because he already has California. There's no way he's going to lose California.

And then he needed to say like Michigan or Wisconsin or Georgia, that whoever he chooses has to be ready to step in on day one and not say it, but actually show it. And if you don't think vice-president matters, just go back to what John McCain said about Sarah Palin, because it really did matter in his nomination. And we did not know that she was so weak for weeks after she was chosen, that this is going to have an impact on his vote. And as far as secretary of treasury, I think that's brilliant. And I may even tweak that it is so good if you'll give me permission to do it.

Okay. In terms of COVID, his numbers are falling on COVID as well even as the country starts to open up. In March, he had a 60% approval rating, in February is 50%. These are not rounded numbers. These were what they actually were. And here they are in June now. And it's down to 42% on the issue that is a defining issue. And to go from 60 to 50 to 42, remember this is not overall approval. It's simply handling of COVID.

What bothers me is Dr. Fauci, who when we first started including him, had 82% of strongly approve rate, not approve, strongly approve. Dr. Fauci was a hero. And now today, because of all the politics, it's down to 64% total approve that you got some left wingers who don't like the fact that he shows up besides Donald Trump. And you've got right-wingers who thinks that he says things Fauci Trump.

We are lucky to have him. And the fact that it's fallen in the 64% is very depressing. Some of you actually can share this with the Oprah. We've been calling to try to figure out who are the most trusted figures in America today. And Oprah was number one until Fauci dethroned her. Oprah one year ago had a favorable rating also of over 80%. And now Oprah is down in the low 60s.

Every politician, everyone who touches politics are affected by it. And it is a tragedy because it means that there's no respect, no appreciation, no dignity. And it's becoming more and more difficult for an organization like yours when nobody likes anyone. In terms of the WHO, Trump is beating up on that. They still have a 56% favorability rating 32 on favorable. And this is a warning for Republicans.

Yes. Two thirds of Republicans want to withdraw funding and support from the WHO. 68% wants to, among the country overall, it's only 35%. So they don't even support his number one strategy. Now I've been trying, because I work with a number of governors, to emphasize this data. And for those of you who are taking notes, this is the most important of all.

When you ask people, which are you more concerned about, the impact on their health and safety or the impact on their financial situation? We are June 11th. This is June 8th. So this is only 72 hours ago. 72% more are interested and more concerned about their health and safety impact, and only 28% choose their financial situation, their family's financial situation. 72 to 28. I'm screaming now.

I can't yell, I can't get agitated but I'm screaming that the public is not demanding we reopen the economy and I know how successful you guys are. I know this is a business group. And by the way, once again, if you want to join the Mike Milken call, all you got to do tomorrow 7:00 PM, east coast time, 4:00 PM West coast time. We're going to talk about this with the MC your name and cell phone number.

Nobody, no one in Georgia, no one in Arkansas, no one in Texas are screaming open up. There is a geographic difference. I know that's going to be a question of yours, but it's more based on politics than it is based on geography that if you're in a left wing community in Oregon or Wisconsin, you are more interested in health and safety. If you're in a Republican community in Texas or a Republican community in Virginia, you're more interested in the economy.

We aren't responding by our age. We aren't responding by our social economic status or where we live. We are now divided everything based on who we voted for and who we want to vote for. A couple more here. Remember I told you that Trump's favorability in handling this is down to 39%. When we asked people, "What is your governor's favorability?" In a generic way, 62% approved, 32% disapproved.

And this is really bad news for Donald Trump in a place that have Democratic governors, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and North Carolina, all even States, all swing States. These governors can come out and ask that question, do you approve of the way Donald Trump handled COVID-19? Did he give us the facts? Did he give us the strategy? Did he give us a good path to the future? Or did the governors do a better job?

They will say their governors. And then the followup to that question. Well, then it's time. And by the way, this is why the president should be choosing a governor and not a senator. You then send, well, then if you approve of this, then we need a governor as part of Biden's ticket. We need two more. When it comes to Coronavirus in the US, do you think the worst is yet to come or the worst is over?

Now, of all the data that I've been giving you, this is my biggest surprise. One third think the worst is over, 47% think the worst is come. This makes us worse than virtually any other country. I've had the opportunity and it's been a blessing to be working in a dozen different countries over the virus. And the only people who think they've handled it worse than us are the British.

And nobody's more negative about where we are in the status of the virus than us, 47, 33. And one more, which is social distancing, because I know it matters to a lot of you. Only one out of five want to relax social distancing measures. One out of three wants to make it more aggressive. And 41% think that it's happening about where it should.

So again, 21% of these protesters that you see in Michigan who aren't social distancing and are demanding the state opening up now, and 35% are the ones who basically don't want anything to open up because they're simply too nervous about it. Still will cut it down because I'm going to start to lose people. Rob let's do three questions and then we'll call it a day.

Voter Turnout

As we sort of taken all this data about the economy, about COVID, about politics, social unrest. How do you think it impacts voter turnout both for their benefit and for their detriment in terms of different groups of voters?

Frank Luntz:
Everyone's voting. People who've been dead for three years are going to vote in Chicago and in Baltimore, everyone is participating in this election because everyone now feels like they have a say in it. And it's been very smart of the Democrats to register people at these rallies and to get people to collect ballots that will be mailed in. Now, you all heard me say how important that is to give everyone the right to vote.

There is one thing I would also say, we have the responsibility to ensure that everyone votes and we have the responsibility to count those votes accurately. And for those who are concerned about fraud, I share that concern. I share the concern for those who believe in ballot suppression. And I share the concern about ballot corruption. And I think that a No Labels organizations should be focused on both. Because they both undermined confidence in our democratic system that has already been undermined and will be further undermined in the coming weeks.

Congressional Power

Several months ago, I saw something that Nancy had published that talked about the transfer of power from committees to the party and that's happened over years. And it's become so strong that I do believe that part of the answer, and it is something I'm working on by the way, is to try and get more really good information to every Congress person, every Senator on the sentiment of their own constituents and see if that can transfer that power?

Frank Luntz:
Okay. I'm going to answer you, I'm going to side step it, but only a little bit. The greatest destruction of congressional power and congressional awareness of public opinion just happened when the Democrats voted on partisan lines to give proxy voting. And the reason for that is that no member of Congress needs to show up now, they don't need to listen to the debate, they don't need to engage.

And I think that your point is more than well taken. I think it's a good priority. But proxy voting right now, and it just happened, is complete control of the majority. And it's complete control of the five or six leaders and nobody else matters. So, I hear you on that. Rob, one final, really quick question.

Trump Reelection - Economy or Vaccine

What does Trump need to do to win reelection between these two things: If I can ask you, if we had a vaccine or the economy improves, and they're theoretically tied. But what do you think is most important to voters right now?

Frank Luntz:
So this is only day one, day two of the protest. The number one issue in the country wasn't unemployment and wasn't COVID, it was healthcare. And it's because of the cost of healthcare, is because of the condition of healthcare. And I think that that's something we have not talked about on this call, which is going to be hugely important when we get to September, because in the end, doctors are trusted. Nurses are trusted. The medical profession trust and nobody else is.

And at some point, the AM is going to become very public about where they stand. And I think that that is going to be the debate that we have in late September and into October that helps determine who our president is. What are you going to do to make it available? What are you going to do to make it affordable? What are you going to do to make it accountable?

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