Washington, DC – A new national poll released today shows bipartisan opposition to giving blanket liability immunity to corporations and employers in cases involving COVID-19 infection. This comes as congressional Republican leadership has called for the next phase of coronavirus relief funding to include provisions providing corporations with blanket immunity from lawsuits if their workers or customers are exposed to the virus.
The national poll conducted by Hart Research found nearly two-thirds of voters oppose legislation giving guaranteed immunity to businesses. Notably, a majority of Democrats (72%), Independents (64%) and Republicans (56%) oppose such efforts giving businesses liability immunity, and among voters who support President Trump, more than half (54%) oppose immunity.
“As Leader McConnell and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce push their decades-old agenda while American lives are on the line, the numbers show that the majority of people, across party lines, believe immunity won’t help fix the economy and in fact will just prolong the pandemic. People won’t want to go back to work or shop at a store unless they feel safe, and that means ensuring that corporations can be held accountable if they don’t take proper precautions,” said Linda Lipsen, CEO of the American Association for Justice.
“The debate on lawsuit immunity is taking place against a backdrop of widespread concern among voters about reopening the economy without the proper safeguards to protect people’s lives. Our poll finds there is bipartisan opposition to guaranteed immunity in coronavirus cases because most voters believe some companies will take fewer precautions if they cannot be held accountable and more people will get sick as a result,” said Geoff Garin of Hart Research.
In addition to opposing blanket immunity, 60% of respondents believe that companies would take fewer precautions to keep people safe if they knew they could not be sued. Forty-two percent (42%) of respondents who are currently in the labor market say that they have lost their job or lost income as a result of the coronavirus crisis; these voters are likely eager to get back to work, but they oppose lawsuit immunity 63%-37%.
After being presented with both sides of the debate, 69% of voters agreed with that it is a bad idea to give corporations and businesses guaranteed immunity from coronavirus lawsuits because some companies would not take proper precautions if they knew they could not be held accountable.
The full results of the poll can be viewed here.