A slight majority of Americans would support federal legislation to suspend and cancel rent payments for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
That’s according to a poll conducted by the progressive think tank Data for Progress. The group asked 1,086 online respondents their opinion on the key provisions of Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s rent bill, proposed last week, calls for a cancellation of rents between April 1 and 30 days after the end of national emergency gets lifted.
Notably, the proposal received majority support from nearly every subgroup polled.
Fifty-five percent of respondents said they would support federal rent cancellation, and were joined in their sentiments by majorities of women, men, voters over and under age 45, non-college-educated voters, college-educated voters, black voters and white voters.
Pluralities of voters broken down by party also support the bill. Nearly two-thirds of Democrats and more than or 42 percent, of Republicans said they would support a federal rent cancellation bill.
Data for Progress also asked respondents their opinions on a less comprehensive federal bill that would offer mortgage and rent suspensions, but would still require tenants to pay back their rent in full after the pandemic ran its course.
Overall, a larger share of respondents said they would support this bill than the rent cancellation bill, although voters under age 45 supported it less.
The poll did not ask respondents their opinions on all provisions in Omar’s bill.
Some states have already enacted moratoriums on evictions. In New York City, legislators have proposed extending the eviction moratorium to avoid a “tidal wave” of evictions when housing court re-opens.
National rental payments in April dropped to 84 percent from their March level of 91 percent, and landlords fear a bigger rent payment shortfall in May. Tenant organizers in New York and Philadelphia have rent strikes planned for May 1 in both cities.