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Rapid Research Reports

Vaccination Rates for Healthcare Workers Have Doubled

March 2021

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

Since January, more U.S. healthcare workers have said they are ready to get vaccinated, with rates of vaccine hesitancy dropping from 37% to 29%, according to a new survey from a research consortium that includes Northwestern University. The same survey finds a similar drop in the hesitancy rate for workers outside of healthcare, falling from 41% to 31%. The survey also shows the rate of vaccination has doubled among healthcare workers, and those with a graduate degree have been vaccinated at four times the rate of those with a high school degree or less (43% versus 13%). The researchers discovered that levels of vaccine hesitancy decreased when they looked at a respondent's gender, education level, income, and political identification. However, the decline is less correlated to one's race/ethnicity, age, or where one lives.

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Survey Shows 53% of Americans Support Biden’s Handling of COVID-19

March 2021

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 

How much Americans approve—or disapprove—of their governors and the president’s handling of COVID-19 in their state appears divided by party lines, according to the latest results from an ongoing national survey of more than 170,000 Americans between April 2020 and February 2021. Conducted by a consortium of four universities that includes Northwestern, Harvard, Northeastern, and Rutgers, the survey finds that Republicans are generally more disapproving of their governors—even more so when their governor is a Democrat. Meanwhile, Democrats have increased their ratings for all governors on average, especially Republican ones.

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Survey Shows Parents Are More Hesitant to Get Vaccines for Their Kids

March 2021

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

While coronavirus vaccines are yet to be approved for children, public health officials worry that the increasing numbers of parents skeptical of vaccinating their children for any disease could affect overall vaccination rates for the coronavirus. A new survey aims to understand how prevalent this attitude is among parents and adults without children.  The survey results show parents are more hesitant about getting the coronavirus vaccine for themselves and their children than those without children across different socioeconomic and demographic groups, with young mothers driving the gap. Mothers between the ages of 18 and 35 are a third less likely to get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available and nearly a third more likely to refuse it altogether.

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New Survey Shows Wide Gaps in Who Is Getting Vaccinated

March 2021

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 his March 11 primetime address, President Biden pledged that all adults over the age of 18 would have access to a COVID vaccine by May 1. Despite the progress in vaccinating more than 64 million Americans to date, a new national survey of more than 21,000 Americans underscores that wide disparities still exist in terms of who has been able to get a vaccine so far. It also pinpoints how a complex system of vaccine distribution cuts off the people best placed to convince more vulnerable Americans to get one. The researchers from Northwestern, Harvard, Northeastern, and Rutgers conducted the survey between February 5 and March 1. They find that education was the biggest predictor of who had already been vaccinated: 29% of respondents with graduate degrees had already received their COVID shots versus just 9% of those with a high school diploma or less, and the figures were similar for vaccine hesitancy (8% vs. 30%).

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National Survey Shows 13% of Healthcare Workers Are Vaccinated

February 2021

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 a new nationally representative survey, a 50-year-old White male doctor in the Northeast, earning more than $200,000, is more than seven times likely to be vaccinated than a 45-year-old Black female nursing assistant in the South, earning less than $50,000. While healthcare workers held similar attitudes to most Americans on their hesitancy in, and resistance to, getting vaccinated, they were more likely to be vaccinated overall (13%) than Americans generally (2%) since they are on the COVID frontlines as essential workers. The survey finds that education, income, gender, and race/ethnicity are strong predictors of vaccination rates, as well as of vaccine hesitancy and resistance among those at the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.

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Parents Voice Concern About Students’ Learning Losses

February 2021

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

Two-thirds of respondents (67%), whether students or parents, say they are concerned about the quality of K–12 learning during the pandemic, according to a new national survey of more than 25,000 people. The finding holds across respondents from different racial backgrounds, incomes, and political affiliations. Conducted between December 16 and January 11, the study shows that slight majorities of parents had concerns about learning losses for their children when compared to school prior to the pandemic. Concerns were highest among parents of middle schoolers (55%), followed by those of high schoolers (52%), and then kindergarten and elementary students (49%). But majorities also came out against a return to in-person learning.

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Guns Sales Spike in 2020

February 2021

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

Amid the protests and turbulence of 2020, Americans set a new record for gun purchases, with the FBI tallying a new high of 21 million background checks over the year. That was an increase of 26% over the 2016 record of 15.7 million. In a new national survey that took place between December 16 and January 11, nearly 9,000 of 25,000 Americans said they bought guns in 2020. Protesters were approximately between 2 and 4 times more likely to buy a gun than those who did not protest. For those who attended a protest against police violence or racism, 13% bought a gun. But that increased to 23% for those attending a rally to support former President Trump or to protest election fairness or COVID-19 restrictions. 

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National Survey Finds Most Americans Favor Vaccination

January 2021

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

As President Joe Biden promises to vaccinate more than 100 million Americans by the end of his first 100 days in office (April 29), new research offers several critical insights for those in charge of managing such a massive national public health effort. The researchers, who hail from four major U.S. universities including Northwestern, surveyed approximately 25,000 individuals from around the nation between December 16 and January 10. Their findings show that Americans generally favor getting a vaccination themselves (75%) and do not typically believe COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, though certain groups are more likely to believe false information about vaccines. They are also more likely to be swayed to get vaccinated by messages from their doctors and scientists than those from famous political figures, athletes, or actors, and generally agree with current policies prioritizing which groups should get vaccinated first, such as frontline medical personnel and first responders.

Read the reports here and here

Why Individuals at the Highest Risk of Gun Violence Choose Chicago CRED

January 2021

Dallas Wright (N3/IPR), Lester Kern, Durrell Washington, and Briana Payton, University of Chicago, and Kevin Barry, Soledad McGrath (N3/IPR), and Andrew Papachristos (N3/IPR/Sociology), Northwestern University

This N3 report identifies how a street outreach program run by Chicago CRED (Creating Real Economic Destiny) not only identifies but also engages such individuals. It details the experiences of participants in the program, highlighting how they perceive the violence that surrounds them, as well as why they joined and choose to stay in CRED.

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A Network Analysis of Three Weekends of Shootings in Chicago, June 18–July 5

January 2021

Nicolas Villar, George Wood, Jess Robinson, and Soledad McGrath (N3/IPR), and Andrew Papachristos (N3/IPR/Sociology), Northwestern University

This report examines the shootings and homicides that occurred during one of the most severe upticks of gun violence in 2020—the two-week period between Father’s Day and the Fourth of July Weekend, June 18 to July 5, 2020. By delving more deeply into this period, the report aims to illustrate how understanding the networks in which gun violence occurred during an especially deadly outbreak of violence might inform policy and practice.

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App Explores Seven Key Economic Topics

December 2020

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach (IPR/SESP) and Natalie Tomeh (IPR), Northwestern University

During the COVID-19 crisis, rates of food insecurity, job losses, and missing mortgage or rent payments have been high. People have been reporting difficulty in paying for their usual household expenses, and their feelings of anxiety and worry have increased. A new app, which draws on the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey data that have been collected since April, provides snapshots of seven key economic indicators that highlight the severity of the ongoing crisis for many Americans.

Read the full report for more information about the app and notes on the data.

As Latest Relief Package Passes, 1 in 5 Americans Confronts Severe Economic Hardships

December 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

A new survey reveals the dismal scope of many Americans’ economic struggles as Congress approves an eleventh-hour $900 billion pandemic relief package before remaining benefits expire at the end of December. Between November 3 and 30, the researchers asked roughly 20,000 individuals across the United States and Washington, D.C. about five key economic hardships: unemployment, pay cuts, evictions, making rent or a house payment, and stopping or cutting work to take care of children.

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As Coronavirus Cases Jump, Illinoisans Slip in Following Public Health Guidelines

November 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

As COVID-19 cases in Illinois surge past spring’s high point, a new survey examining people’s behaviors in the state shows that colder weather driving people indoors and COVID fatigue are likely behind the virus’ deadly second wave. The number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois has increased sharply over the last two months from about 2,000 cases per day in late September to a seven-day rolling average of roughly 12,000 daily cases since mid-November.

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More Wearing Masks But Fewer Staying Six Feet Apart

November 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

As the United States waits to see how high already grim rates of COVID-19 will go after Thanksgiving, a new survey shows that the states with the lowest levels of social distancing behaviors and mask wearing since the pandemic started are enduring the most severe outbreaks now. Researchers tracked how closely more than 139,000 people followed public health recommendations over 10 waves of surveys from April to November 2020 in every state plus the District of Columbia.

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Most Americans Support Restrictive Measures to Curb COVID-19

November 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

Despite differing opinions about whether shutdowns have been effective, new survey results show 6 in 10 Americans support more restrictive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Following the election, researchers surveyed nearly 20,000 individuals across the nation between November 3 and 23. They asked about seven key restrictions: staying at home, gathering in large groups, closing businesses, limiting restaurants to carry-out, prohibiting in-person K–12 classes, canceling events, and restricting travel.

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Depression Among Young Adults Soars During Pandemic

November 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

A new survey of over 8,900 young adults, aged 18–24, across the U.S. finds that they showed higher levels of depression amid the pandemic, no matter their gender, racial or ethnic group, or geographic location. Nearly half  (47%) of those surveyed described having at least moderate symptoms of depression. More urgently, over a third (37%) reported occasional thoughts that they might be better off dead, or had thoughts of harming themselves—a tenfold increase in the rate prior to the pandemic.

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Which Issues Top Americans’ Minds as They Vote?

November 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

As the nation heads into Election Day, a survey of more than 20,000 American voters on the most important problems facing the U.S. finds their top answers, including the coronavirus at No. 1 overall, align more with issues that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has focused on during his campaign. The researchers show that COVID-19 topped the list for voters in every state but Alaska, where 16% of respondents chose climate change instead. Other first-picks mentioned were racism (10% ranked it first), the economy (8%), healthcare (7%), and crime and violence (6%).

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Survey Finds Older Americans Tweet More Fake News About COVID-19

October 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

Older Americans and Republicans are more likely to share fake news websites about COVID-19 on Twitter, new research shows. But at the same time, older people are less likely to believe misinformation about the pandemic than younger ones. The researchers, who included IPR political scientist James Druckman, examined over 29.6 million tweets about COVID-19 by 1.6 million registered voters, collected between January 1 and September 30. They asked, "Who is sharing fake news about the pandemic and what are they sharing?" Over 7 million COVID-19 tweets included a website URL, of which a little more than 1% were from fake news sites.

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COVID-19 Testing Speeds Increase

October 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 average turnaround time for COVID-19 nasal swab tests decreased from an average of 4 days in April to 2.7 days in September, according to the latest survey results of an ongoing national survey of attitudes about COVID-19. Despite the quicker testing speeds, the results are still too slow in most cases to support successful contact tracing.

The researchers, who surveyed over 52,300 respondents in July, August, and September, looked at over 8,800 who received a COVID-19 nasal swab test. They found only 56% of those who tested positive for the coronavirus reported being contacted by someone to trace people they had been physically near in the last week. Of those who were notified about possible exposure, 37% said they were contacted by their state government, 28% by their local government, 25% by the hospital, and 8% by a non-profit organization.

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Survey Shows Why 2020’s ‘Election Day’ Might Turn into ‘Election Week’

October 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

A new survey indicates why Americans might see President Trump ahead at the end of election night on November 3, but then see Biden pull ahead and declared the winner by the end the week. The researchers, who surveyed more than 20,300 Americans between September 4 and 27, find a substantial increase in the number of those who say they plan to vote using mail-in or absentee ballots. They estimate 82 million voters will cast such ballots in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, or more than six times those that did in 2016. They also reveal a deep partisan divide when it comes to preferences for how people plan to vote: 68% of those who favor Trump say they will turn out on Election Day to cast their ballot versus just 23% who favor Biden. But likely voters overall favored Biden by 50% to 40%.

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As Relief Talks Stall, 80% of Americans Back Passage of a Fifth Coronavirus Bill

October 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 face of stalled talks on a new coronavirus relief package, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed a largely symbolic $2.2 trillion one on October 1. A new national survey finds 80% of Americans support passage of a new relief bill. The survey, conducted between September 4 and 27, asked more than 20,000 Americans for their opinions on the next COVID-19 relief bill. Congress has passed four COVID-19 relief packages totaling $3.4 trillion since the start of the pandemic in the United States, including the latest, the CARES Act, on March 27. The strong support for a fifth bill cuts across party affiliation and race.

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Review of the Evanston Police Department’s Use of Force Policy

September 2020

N3 and IPR, Northwestern University

The Evanston Police Department (EPD) asked the Northwestern Neighborhood and Networks Initiative (N3), led by Soledad McGrath and Andrew Papachristos (IPR/Sociology), to review its use of force policy. N3 developed a brief report and recommendations following a review of the current policy, a review of data on EPD use of force made available through the city’s public data portal, and research on best practices in use of force, training, transparency, and accountability.

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Misinformation About COVID-19 and Vaccine Acceptance

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, 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.

Read the Report