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COVID-19, Public Option, Research

COVID-19: Recent Trends in Public Opinion Research

Published On April 24, 2020

United States of Care is working to ensure that every single American has access to quality, affordable health care regardless of health status, social need, or income. The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the need for effective solutions that address immediate challenges as well as long-term systemic gaps in our health care and safety-net systems. We believe that these solutions should center people over partisan politics. To do this effectively, our team of experts are listening to the public. We are actively hosting one-on-one interviews and community conversations. We are also regularly analyzing public opinion surveys and data. These findings are informing the policy priorities United States of Care is recommending at the federal and state levels. The following is a snapshot of what we’re seeing in recent public opinion research.

While the number of public opinion surveys are increasing, many of them remain political in nature or focus on immediate health care or economic concerns. There are still significant gaps in our understanding of people’s emotional well-being and needs, as well as long-term solutions and/or gaps in current systems that need to be addressed.

Themes from current public opinion surveys:

Political trends:

  • Support for President Trump has declined over the month of April.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, is the federal official with most credibility (78% approval, 7% disapproval).¹
  • Public trust among local leaders remains high (69% of Americans expressing trust in state officials to make social distancing decisions, compared with just 22% who trust Trump and the federal government).²

Interconnectivity of economic and health care concerns:

  • There is a growing awareness of the interconnectivity between employment and health care, and a related concern about the loss of insurance coverage in the midst of the pandemic.
    • Over 20% report either having lost their insurance (3%) or are concerned that they could lose it (18%).³
  • The level of concern about COVID-19 varies based on political affiliation and demographics.
    • Overall, Americans are paying attention and taking action to try to keep themselves and their families safe.⁴
    • Republicans are still the least worried about getting sick, are most likely to believe that death counts are inaccurate, and are most ready to get the economy started sooner.⁵
    • Communities of color have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
      • Hispanics are most fearful of the virus, and are most hard-hit economically. A significant number are having trouble paying their bills and for basic household items.⁶
      • African Americans are also feeling more stress from the virus, and over half are experiencing financial hardship.⁷

Health care trends:

  • There are high levels of stress and worry, particularly among low-income Americans.⁸
  • Americans are also evenly split in their trust in fellow citizens, ranging from “high trust” to “medium trust” to “low trust.” The level of trust seems to indicate how people are responding to the pandemic and the actions they are taking. For instance, low trusters are more likely to feel nervous, depressed, and lonely, as well as to say that governments are overreacting.⁹

Economic trends:

  • There is significant and growing concern about personal financial wellbeing.¹⁰
  • 70% of Americans now believe the U.S. is in a recession or a depression.¹¹

United States of Care is continuing to track and update our analysis of public opinion polls regularly so that we can best understand and share cutting-edge long-term solutions to address the systemic challenges that are being brought to light through the COVID-19 pandemic.

⁶Washington Post: