A new nationwide opinion poll shows that the public overwhelmingly supports funding for the U.S. Postal Service in the next stimulus bill to prevent USPS from running out of cash.
Postmaster General Megan Brennan has reported to Congress that due to a decline in revenue linked to the pandemic, USPS will run out of money by September, without financial support. The survey, conducted by YouGov on behalf of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), also indicates that elected leaders who allow USPS to go bankrupt may face a significant backlash from voters.
The APWU/YouGov poll of 1,269 adults, conducted the week of April 21-22, shows two-thirds of US adults (67%) believe Congress should fund the U.S. Postal Service in the next coronavirus stimulus bill, with only 15 percent of Americans opposing. It also found half of Americans would be less likely to support members of Congress who vote against funding, were the Post Office to run out of funds to operate. The American Postal Workers Union commissioned YouGov Plc to conduct the survey. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,269 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken April 21-22, 2020. The margin of error is +/-2.75%.
President Trump and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin blocked aid to USPS in the March stimulus package and have refused to allow financial assistance to flow to USPS without onerous strings attached. During an April 24 bill-signing ceremony in the Oval Office, President Trump attacked USPS calling it “a joke” and unrealistically suggested that the postal service should raise the price of a package “approximately four times.”
The APWU/YouGov survey showed the strength of support for America’s oldest institution. Eighty-six percent of Democrats favor federal funding for USPS, as do 69 percent of self-described independents, with just 13 percent opposed. Republican voters favor Congressional funding of the Postal Service by a margin of 48 percent to 32 percent. Normally, USPS does not receive tax dollars. The postal service is funded solely through the sale of stamps and services.
If Congressional leaders do allow the postal service to go bankrupt, half of Americans would be less likely to support a candidate who blocked funding in these circumstances, according to the poll. The figure includes 31 percent of Republicans, 55 percent of independents and 65 percent of Democrats.
It was reported last week by The Washington Post that Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is planning to use USPS’ coronavirus-related financial crisis to leverage long-desired draconian policy changes. The White House, fueled by Wall Street supporters and the personal ire President Trump reportedly has for Amazon’s owner Jeff Bezos, has long favored raising mail and package prices and setting limits on who gets mail and how often, undermining the universal delivery mandate. The Trump administration in a 2018 report by the Office of Management and Budget called for privatizing the service.
Reacting to the survey, American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein said: “Postal workers provide an absolutely essential service to everyone in the country – no matter who we are or where we live. During this pandemic, postal workers have shown strength and commitment, as they process and deliver needed medicine, supplies and information to a public who are confined to their homes. This new poll shows the appreciation that the public has for our work,” Dimondstein said. “The public expects members of Congress and the White House to show appreciation for the importance of USPS and to ensure that essential postal services continue.”