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COVID-19 and Public Opinion

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COVID-19 has disrupted life around the globe and called for government intervention to prevent the spread of the virus. IPR researchers find in various survey results that many Americans have been dissatisfied with the government's response to the pandemic at the state and national level.

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Research Roundup

Belief in American Exceptionalism Declines

July 2020

According to IPR sociologist Beth Redbird's survey results, there has been a decline in Americans' belief in U.S. exceptionalism compared to other countries when it comes to institutions such as the healthcare system and the economy. Even institutions seemly unaffected by the pandemic, such as the military and the criminal justice system took a hit. Throughout the pandemic, Americans have developed more negative attitudes about the Republican Party, while attitudes about the Democratic Party have largely been stable.

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

July 2020

The latest results from an ongoing survey of Americans' opinions about the COVID-19 pandemic by IPR political scientist James Druckman shows that 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.

Americans' Trust in the Police and Other Institutions' Ability to Manage the Pandemic is Fading

June 2020

According to results of an ongoing survey of Americans' opinions about COVID-19 by IPR political scientist James Druckman, Americans' trust is fraying in their institutions' ability to respond—especially with regard to the police, in whom trust has 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.

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

May 2020

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, according to the latest report from an ongoing survey of Americans' attitudes about issues related to the coronavirus pandemic. IPR political scientist  James Druckman and his colleagues find people who reported being somewhat or very concerned about getting COVID-19 were significantly more likely to support voting by mail (67%) compared to those who did not share those concerns (48%)—a pattern that held across party lines.

Most Americans Prefer to Wait to Reopen the Country

May 2020

A majority of Americans (60%) continue to prefer that the country wait at least four weeks before reopening, according to a new survey of more than 20,000 Americans between May 2 and 15. But partisan gaps on when to reopen are becoming more prominent. The numbers of Republicans preferring that the country reopen immediately jumped from 9% to 19% since the first wave of the survey, by IPR political scientist James Druckman and colleagues at Harvard,Northeastern, and Rutgers.