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Rapid Research Reports

Misinformation About COVID-19 and Vaccine Acceptance

Matthew A. Baum, John Della Volpe, Roy H. Perlis, Mauricio Santillana, Harvard University; Katherine Ognyanova, Rutgers University); David Lazer, Northeastern University; James Druckman (IPR/Political Science), Northwestern University

According to the latest results from an ongoing national survey of attitudes about COVID-19, if you get your news from social media, you are more likely to fall for misinformation about coronavirus conspiracies, risk factors, and preventative treatments. Of the 21,000 individuals surveyed around the nation between Aug. 7 and 26, 28% of Snapchat users, 23% of Instagram users, and 25% users of Wikipedia believed inaccurate claims. In contrast, the lowest levels of misperceptions emerged for those who received news about the pandemic from local television news, news websites or apps, and community newspapers (11% in each case).

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Public Trust and Americans’ Willingness to Vaccinate for COVID-19

September, 2020

Matthew A. Baum, John Della Volpe, Roy H. Perlis, Mauricio Santillana, Harvard University; Katherine Ognyanova, Rutgers University); David Lazer, Northeastern University; James Druckman (IPR/Political Science), Northwestern University

According to the latest results from an ongoing national survey of attitudes about COVID-19, shows that a desire to vaccinate depends on trust in leaders and institutions. Public trust for 15 government institutions and leaders’ ability to manage the pandemic gradually eroded between late April and August. Four institutions—state government (68%), Congress (42%), the White House (46%), and police (65%)—have seen double-digit declines of between 12 and 13 points in trust since the spring. That said, trust levels for most others like banks and media have stabilized since late July.

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Managing Multiple Pandemics: How Street Outreach Workers Are Addressing Gun Violence and COVID-19

September, 2020

Dallas Wright, Rose Werth, Dawna Goens Leggett, Soledad McGrath, and Andrew Papachristos (IPR/Sociology), N3 and IPR, Northwestern University

This report from the Northwestern Neighborhood and Networks Initiative (N3) details how how street outreach workers are currently dealing with three pandemics: gun violence, the coronavirus, and racism and police violence. Data show that the neighborhoods covered by outreach workers affiliated with Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P) were the very same neighborhoods with Chicago’s highest rates of COVID-19.

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Americans’ Approval of Governors’ Ability to Handle COVID-19 Continues to Decline

September, 2020

Matthew A. Baum, John Della Volpe, Roy H. Perlis, Mauricio Santillana, Harvard University; Katherine Ognyanova, Rutgers University); David Lazer, Northeastern University; James Druckman (IPR/Political Science), Northwestern University

According to the latest results from an ongoing national survey of attitudes about COVID-19, governors saw their approval slip to 48% on average in August—a 3% drop from last month, even as President Trump’s edged up slightly.  In April, Americans’ approval of governors’ management of COVID-19 stood at an average of 63%. The same survey shows the president’s national approval rating improved slightly from 32% in July to 34% in August—though it stood at 42% in April. 

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New Research Shows That the Typical Homicide Victim is in Their Late 20s

September, 2020

Jess Robinson, Ava Cheevers, Soledad McGrath, and Andrew Papachristos (IPR/Sociology), Northwestern University

N3’s latest research shows that in 2019 the average age of a homicide victim in Chicago was 29 years of age and the median age was 27 years old, meaning that a typical homicide victim is in his or her 20s. Over the past decade, the median has fluctuated between 24 and 28 years old, and Chicago has seen a 71% decrease in the number of victims 12 or younger since the 1990s. Still, violence permeates Chicago, especially in communities on the South and West Sides, with Black and Latino residents more likely to die by gun violence at rates far higher than for White ones.

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Americans Not Confident Schools Can Re-Open Safely

August, 2020

Matthew A. Baum, John Della Volpe, Roy H. Perlis, Mauricio Santillana, Harvard University; Katherine Ognyanova, Rutgers University); David Lazer, Northeastern University; James Druckman (IPR/Political Science), Northwestern University

According to the latest results from an ongoing national survey of attitudes about COVID-19, most Americans do not believe it is safe for K-12 students to return to in-person classes this fall. Only 31% of respondents believe that returning to school is very safe (10%) or somewhat safe (21%). There are differences across groups of Americans, notably by gender and race. For instance, women are less likely to consider returning to school as very or somewhat safe (28% versus 34% for men), as are non-white respondents (19% versus 37% among white respondents).

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Communities Partnering for Peace (CP4P) Street Outreach: The Moments that Matter

August, 2020

Rose Werth, Dallas Wright, Dawna Leggett, Soledad McGrath, and Andrew Papachristos (IPR/Sociology), Northwestern University

As the research partner for CP4P, the Northwestern Neighborhood & Network Initiative (N3) uses quantitative and qualitative methods to study its impact.  While analysis of administrative and survey data illuminates a wide range of behaviors and outcomes, they cannot fully describe the full spectrum of potential participant outcomes. Therefore, CP4P and N3 launched a qualitative study to provide a more holistic account of participants' lives and experiences with street outreach.

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Most Americans Willing to Vaccinate for COVID-19, While Testing Speeds Lag

August 2020

Matthew A. Baum, John Della Volpe, Roy H. Perlis, Mauricio Santillana, Harvard University; Katherine Ognyanova, Rutgers University); David Lazer, Northeastern University; James Druckman (IPR/Political Science), Northwestern University

The latest results from an ongoing survey of Americans’ opinions about the COVID-19 pandemic show that two-thirds (66%) of Americans say they are either “somewhat” or “extremely” likely to vaccinate themselves and their children against the novel coronavirus when such a vaccine becomes available. At the same time, Americans are waiting four days on average to find out the results of COVID-19 nasal swab tests, according to survey results collected between July 10 and 26. This is double the ideal amount of time of 1–2 days for effective contact tracing of COVID-19 cases.

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Visualizing Food Insecurity

July 2020

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach (IPR/SESP) and Abigail Pitts, Northwestern University

IPR researchers have created a new tool for visualizing food insecurity data across the nation. Users can find data from April 23 onward from the U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey on weekly rates of food insecurity for respondents with and without children, which can also be sorted by race and ethnicity for selected states.

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The Chicago Neighborhood Policing Initiative: Preliminary Findings and Lessons Learned

July 2020

Dawna Leggett, Wayne Rivera-Cuadrado, Karlia Brown, Kat Albrecht, Soledad McGrath, and Andrew Papachristos (IPR/Sociology), Northwestern University

In January 2019, the Chicago Neighborhood Policing Initiative (CNPI) was launched. The Northwestern Neighborhood & Network Initiative (N3) began evaluating CNPI during its initial rollout. Analyses of
the first year of implementation are presented in this report. They include findings on officer and community perceptions of one another, perceptions of public safety, and community satisfaction with police performance; an assessment of CNPI’s impact on community trust; and preliminary recommendations.

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Americans Are Losing Confidence in Government Executives’ Ability to Handle COVID-19

July 2020

Matthew A. Baum, John Della Volpe, Roy H. Perlis, Mauricio Santillana, Harvard University; Katherine Ognyanova, Rutgers University); David Lazer, Northeastern University; James Druckman (IPR/Political Science), Northwestern University

Confidence in executive leadership is declining, with governors seeing a 10-point drop on average in approval from April to June. Just five governors saw increases in approval, in Hawaii, Michigan, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Vermont. Approval for Republican governors is highly polarized: Only four governors overall have approval ratings at 70% or above, and all are Republicans in Democratic-leaning states. Out of the 10 governors with approval ratings below 45%, eight are Republicans in Republican-leaning states.

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How Much Has Food Insecurity Risen? Evidence from the Census Household Pulse Survey

June 2020

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach (IPR/SESP) and Abigail Pitts, Northwestern University

In this report, we estimate current rates of food insecurity and the extent to which food insecurity rates have increased in national data and by state using the Census’s Household Pulse Survey (CHHPS). We find that food insecurity has doubled overall, and tripled among households with children. Food insecurity is elevated across all states, with some states experiencing extremely high rates and/or increases in food insecurity. Across the nation, 7% of households reported receiving free food during the prior week.

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Food Insecurity in the Census Household Pulse Survey Data Tables

June 2020

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach (IPR/SESP) and Abigail Pitts, Northwestern University

In this report, we analyze food insufficiency rates from the first two weeks of CHHPS summary tables and transform them to be comparable to other measures of food insecurity both during COVID-19 and prior to it. We take several approaches to the transformation, based on the relationship between food insecurity and food insufficiency in other datasets. We also explore using other CHHPS information to serve as a proxy for food insecurity and conclude that the elevated rates measured in CHHPS reflect increased need and are not being driven in a meaningful way by a lack of variety on store shelves. Estimates of food insecurity from the CHHPS are similar to those found in the COVID Impact Survey and indicate that food insecurity rates have at least doubled.

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Americans’ Trust in Institutions' Ability to Handle COVID-19 is Fading

June 2020

Matthew A. Baum, John Della Volpe, Roy H. Perlis, Mauricio Santillana, Harvard University; Katherine Ognyanova, Rutgers University); David Lazer, Northeastern University; James Druckman (IPR/Political Science), Northwestern University

In the third wave of an ongoing survey, researchers found that Americans’ trust is fraying in their institutions’ ability to respond — especially with regard to the police, in whom trust had fallen by 8% since April. Overall trust in the police in the second half of May was lowest among African Americans, with just 54% saying they have “some” or “a lot” of trust, compared to 75% of white respondents, 65% of Hispanic respondents, and 73% of Asian American respondents who said the same.

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Worried About Having a Baby During the Pandemic?

May 2020

Hannes Schwandt (IPR/SESP), Northwestern University

Much research has shown that pregnancy conditions not only affect the mother but can also harm her children. Studies have shown that if a mother gets the flu during her pregnancy, a resulting infection can lead her to give birth prematurely—and strong cases could even affect the children as adults. From what we know so far about the coronavirus, the good news is that it seems to impact pregnant women much less than influenza does. Maternal influenza infections typically activate immune system responses, which have been shown to impair fetal development, but this does not seem to be happening here.

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Estimates of Food Insecurity During the COVID-19 Crisis: Results from the COVID Impact Survey Week 2 (May 4–10, 2020)

May 2020

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach (IPR/SESP) and Abigail Pitts, Northwestern University

In this report, food insecurity was statistically unchanged between the April and May surveys and remains greatly elevated. Overall food insecurity more than doubled to 22% in the pooled April and May COVID Impact Surveys compared to the predicted level for March. Food insecurity remains particularly elevated among respondents with children, with 1 in 3 respondents with children reporting food insecurity. Among those with children, the April-May measure of food insecurity is 2.85 times beyond what we had predicted for March.

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Most Americans Support Vote by Mail During the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 2020

Matthew A. Baum, John Della Volpe, Roy H. Perlis, Mauricio Santillana, Harvard University; Katherine Ognyanova, Rutgers University); David Lazer, Northeastern University; James Druckman (IPR/Political Science), Northwestern University

In the second wave of an ongoing survey, James Druckman and his fellow researchers found that a majority of Americans (60%) support efforts to make it easier to vote by mail in the upcoming November election, including majorities in 46 states. The researchers also showed that “a considerable proportion of Americans say they would be more likely to vote if mail were an option,” and that majorities of respondents in all but three states—South Carolina, Arkansas, and Mississippi—said they felt confident in their knowledge of how to do so.

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Most Americans Prefer to Wait to Reopen the Country

May 2020

Matthew A. Baum, John Della Volpe, Roy H. Perlis, Mauricio Santillana, Harvard University; Katherine Ognyanova, Rutgers University); David Lazer, Northeastern University; James Druckman (IPR/Political Science), Northwestern University

IPR political scientist James Druckman is one of the researchers involved in conducting a survey and analyzing data on "the state of the nation" amid the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a consortium of four universities—Northwestern, Harvard, Northeastern, and Rutgers. The social scientists are investigating a variety of topics in addition to reopening that cover economic consequences, COVID-19 mitigation strategies, health concerns, trust in institutions and leaders, and voting by mail. In its initial wave, they find a majority of Americans (60%) continue to prefer that the country wait at least four weeks before reopening.

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Estimates of Food Insecurity During the COVID-19 Crisis: Results from the COVID Impact Survey Week 1 (April 20–26, 2020)

April 2020

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach (IPR/SESP) and Abigail Pitts, Northwestern University

Using data from the COVID-19 Impact Survey, we find sharp increases in food insecurity in April 2020 during the COVID-19 health emergency. Relative to predicted rates for March, in April food insecurity doubled overall and tripled among those with children. We see that food insecurity increased by more than April’s unemployment rate increase predicted it would, especially for families with children. We find that 7% of respondents overall, and nearly 20%, or nearly 1 in 5, respondents who are experiencing food insecurity, reported receiving benefits from food pantries. But rates of food insecurity and interaction with food pantries varied widely across the states and metro areas. The report includes an appendix of linear regression model tables to predict food insecurity.

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