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Huge Majority of Americans Support Closing Non-Essential Businesses, Canceling Sports, Closing K-12 Schools…

Lee Strubinger asks Governor Kristi Noem for her thoughts on a new coronavirus policy poll:

“If we could just focus on important things, instead of playing politics all the time I think that we would be much better served by those in public office, the media, and out there on social media and in public,” Noem says. “This is a time for us to be united, not to continue to find ways to drive people apart. No, I’m not spending any time looking at polls right now” [Lee Strubinger, “National Survey Shows 49 Percent Support for Noem’s COVID Response,” SDPB, 2020.05.01]

Instead of issuing standard baloney (Smithfield is reopening to handle that), Governor Noem and every other governor might actually want to read the poll. Far from “playing politics,” the researchers from Harvard, Rutgers, and Northeastern simply quizzed 186 of Noem’s minions and nearly 23,000 other Americans to see what they are willing to do to keep up the fight against coronavirus. Among the results:

  • 92% support canceling major sports and entertainment events.
  • 91% support closing K-12 schools.
  • In all 50 states, strong majorities (all over 60%; nationwide average above 80%) support asking people to stay at home, canceling events, closing non-essential business, closing schools, limiting restaurants to carry-out, restricting international travel, and restricting domestic travel.
  • In all 50 states, Americans are generally more concerned about themselves or their loved ones coming down with covid-19 than about “losing their jobs or suffering financial hardships.”
  • 82% support waiting at least two weeks to reopen the economy.

Now 260 million people thinking something is a good idea does not make it a good idea. But understanding the popular will could help governors and other policymakers hear beyond their ideological echo chambers, see beyond the marginal astroturf demonstrations of a few armed liberty-shouters, and maintain the political will to take the tough anti-pandemic measures that huge majorities (if this were an election, we’d say landslide) support. This nationwide survey does not seek to “drive people apart”; quite to the contrary, it provides strong evidence that Americans stand more united behind strong anti-pandemic measures than they have over pretty much anything else over the last few years and will stand with the political leaders who take those measures.

And Governor Noem, if public opinion won’t sway you away from back-to-normalizing too soon, consider:

A key model of the coronavirus pandemic favored by the White House nearly doubled its prediction Monday for how many people will die from the virus in the U.S. by August – primarily because states are reopening too soon.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine is now projecting 134,000 coronavirus-related fatalities, up from a previous prediction of 72,000. Factoring in the scientists’ margin of error, the new prediction ranges from 95,000 to 243,000 [Alice Miranda Ollstein and Caitlin Oprysko, “Models Shift to Predict Dramatically More U.S. Deaths as U.S. States Relax Social Distancing,” Politico, 2020.05.04].

It sounds like the majority if Americans who say job #1 is fighting coronavirus are right, while the small but noisy minority pushing for a swift reopening are dead wrong.

* * *

Speaking more sociologically, the Harvard/Rutgers/Northeastern survey finds 55% of Americans feel their lives have been disrupted “a lot” or “a great deal” by the coronavirus outbreak:

David Lazer, Matthew A. Baum, Katherine Ognyanova, and John Della Volpe, The State of the Nation: A 50-State Covid-19 Survey, The Covid-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public's Policy Preferences Across States, 2020.04.30, p. 43.
David Lazer, Matthew A. Baum, Katherine Ognyanova, and John Della Volpe, The State of the Nation: A 50-State Covid-19 Survey, The Covid-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States, 2020.04.30, p. 43.

…but young people perceive greater disruption than old people:

David Lazer, Matthew A. Baum, Katherine Ognyanova, and John Della Volpe, The State of the Nation: A 50-State Covid-19 Survey, The Covid-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public's Policy Preferences Across States, 2020.04.30, p. 44.
Lazer et al., 2020.04.30, p. 44.

…and rich people perceive more disruption than poor people:

David Lazer, Matthew A. Baum, Katherine Ognyanova, and John Della Volpe, The State of the Nation: A 50-State Covid-19 Survey, The Covid-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public's Policy Preferences Across States, 2020.04.30, p. 45.
Lazer et al., 2020.04.30, p. 45.

73% of respondents said that, in the past 24 hours, they had not been in a room or other enclosed space with anyone other than members of their household:

David Lazer et al., 2020.04.30, p. 70.
Lazer et al., 2020.04.30, p. 70.

55% of us (not in Aberdeen, I can tell you, but nationwide) are “very closely” following the recommendation to wear a mask outside the home:

Lazer et al., 2020.04.30, p. 82.
Lazer et al., 2020.04.30, p. 82.

That majority mask usage holds among men and women, young and old, rich and poor, black and white and Asian and Hispanic, Democrat and Independent… and Republicans almost make it:

Lazer et al., 2020.04.30, p. 84.
Lazer et al., 2020.04.30, p. 84.

Yet while lots of people report doing the right things to prevent coronavirus, 48% of Americans think ordinary people like the respondents to this survey aren’t taking the pandemic seriously enough. Only 16% think people are overreacting:

Lazer et al., 2020.04.30, p. 124.
Lazer et al., 2020.04.30, p. 124.

Yet in another demonstration of the same thinking that leads Americans to mistrust Congress but trust their own Congresspeople, only 34% think people in their own neighborhood are not taking coronavirus seriously enough:

Lazer et al., 2020.04.30, p. 128.
Lazer et al., 2020.04.30, p. 128.

Thinking that one’s neighbors are exceptions to one’s belief in the general fallibility of humanity is like thinking governors don’t spend any time looking at polls…

7 Comments

  1. Debbo 2020-05-04

    It is shocking that in 2020 USA we can be so united on something. I’m very glad that we are.

    The GOP has cornered the market on moronic behavior.

  2. jerry 2020-05-04

    There’s Mourning in America, this is spot on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_yG_-K2MDo&feature=emb_title

    So truthful, that there’s no doubt of the failure of the trumpian republican party and especially, their leader. Thanks EB5 Rounds and you too Thune, you’ve bought shame upon yourselves and this great country. Sad

  3. Debbo 2020-05-04

    It’s a good ad Jerry, and heartbreaking.

  4. o 2020-05-04

    I feel that there are two sets of numbers if we are being truthful: the numbers that indicate what reasonable people report and the numbers you get from FOX/Trump faithful after a pronouncement from Dear Leader/State Media on how silly (unprofitable) all these precautions are. Even the Vice President went hospital visiting without a mask, a purely political activist action — then later said that wasn’t smart. I’m not sure this poll fairly indicates/reflects responses influenced by a MAGA endorphin rush.

    But that is no different for so many issues where so many Americans will vote against their own interests because of a cult of personality says they should. Americans have opposed universal health care (because death panels and rationing will decide who lives and dies – good thing we avoided that); Americans have opposed restricting banks’ ability to crash the economy; Americans have supported income disparity; the list goes on and on. Politics, GOP politics, does an amazing job of peeling people off their reasonable positions and into party demagoguery. What I think Cory misses here is that this is “good politics” not because ti meets people where they are, but because it is an opportunity to mobilize (some) people again to the against-the-common-interest-lunatic-fringe.

  5. Debbo 2020-05-04

    82% of Minnesotans support Gov. Walz and the decisions he’s made regarding shutdowns and COVID-19.

    34% support Medical Moron. There’s not a chance in hell that he or the GOP will gain anything in Minnesota this year. In fact, I think they’ll lose the state Senate. That’s all they have. They might lose one of the 3 Congressional seats they have.

  6. mike from iowa 2020-05-05

    The gubmint can fine a person for not wearing a seat belt, but not wearing a mask and endangering many more people isn’t fine-worthy?

  7. Debbo 2020-05-05

    The polls full of bad news for Tantruming Toddler have him and his minions ramping up the hysteria.

    A fake militia gang, the Oaf Keepers, is threatening police for doing their job.
    is.gd/CTyKyb

    Crazy Jue-Lee-ahh-kne is trying to blame everything on China.
    is.gd/CJvLCV

    And one of the looniest and most horrible of all, Alex Jones, has a conspiracy theory. Of course. There is a “coronavirus-related globalist depopulation plot that Jones has suggested could be staved off if Gates is executed.”
    is.gd/2ubNEC

    You really can’t make this stuff up. GOP 21st century politics. No wonder many world leaders and nations make fun of Moronic Menace.

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