• Polling

Americans Are Split on Behavior During This Stage of the Pandemic

Tuesday, August 9, 2022 By Bryan Bennett
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Welcome to NAVIGATOR – a project designed to better understand the American public’s views on issues of the day and help advocates, elected officials, and other interested parties understand the language, imagery, and messaging needed to make and win key policy arguments.
Key takeaways
  • A majority of Americans want mask mandates lifted permanently or only put in place when case counts are high, and four in five say case counts locally are “low” or “moderate.”
  • More than half of Americans have not worn a mask in an unrequired situation in the last month as just one in three say a close friend or family member has had coronavirus in the last month.
  • While a majority of Americans are attending gatherings with friends or family like they were pre-pandemic, most Americans continue to at least weigh coronavirus when it comes to traveling or going out to events such as concerts, sporting events, or the movies.

Slight Uptick in Share of Americans Who Say the “Worst Is Over” in the Pandemic

Since mid-July, the share who say “the worst is over” has increased by 5 points (50% to 55%).

A Plurality Only Want Mask Mandates When Cases are High As Four in Five Say Local Cases Are Low or Moderate

Almost seven in ten (69%) Americans say mask mandates should be lifted permanently or only kept in place when cases are high; just one in four (24%) say mandates should be in place “until the end of the pandemic.”

  • More than four in five (84%) say coronavirus cases in their community are “low” or “moderate,” including 87% of independents.

In the Last Month, Only Two in Five Have Worn an Unrequired Mask and One in Three Have Had a Loved One Get Infected

There is a partisan divide on mask wearing, with Republicans much more likely to say the last time they wore an unrequired mask was “more than a month ago” (72%) and Democrats more likely to say “within the last month” (59%).

  • Majorities across every partisan and racial group say it has been over a month since they learned a loved one was infected.

Fewer Than One in Six Are Avoiding Family Gatherings Due to Pandemic Fears, One in Four Events Like Concerts or Travel

More than a quarter of Americans say they have avoided going to concerts, sporting events, or the movies (29%) or traveling (26%) due to fears about coronavirus, driven mostly by Democrats (38% avoiding events, 31% avoiding travel because of coronavirus).

Americans Continue to Be Divided on When Life in the United States Will “Return to Normal”

Republicans are the only group across party or race where a plurality believe the United States has returned to normal (39%).

When Asked to Explain U.S. Return to Normalcy, Americans Cite Mask-Wearing Patterns, Vaccines, Variants

Those who say life has returned to normal focus on elimination of mandates and lesser mask-wearing in their day-to-day. Those who say normalcy will come by spring of 2023 focus on Americans continuing to get vaccinated and to cases improving with time, with a sense of “hopefulness.” Those who say it never will are thinking about coronavirus “always” being around, ongoing cycles of vaccinations, new mutations, and some even mention monkeypox in their thinking about threats to public health broadly

About The Study

Global Strategy Group conducted public opinion surveys among a sample of 1,007 registered voters from July 28-August 1, 2022. 102 additional interviews were conducted among Hispanic voters. 75 additional interviews were conducted among Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. 100 additional interviews were conducted among African American voters. 98 additional interviews were conducted among independent voters.

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About Navigator

In a world where the news cycle is the length of a tweet, our leaders often lack the real-time public-sentiment analysis to shape the best approaches to talking about the issues that matter the most. Navigator is designed to act as a consistent, flexible, responsive tool to inform policy debates by conducting research and reliable guidance to inform allies, elected leaders, and the press. Navigator is a project led by pollsters from Global Strategy Group and GBAO along with an advisory committee, including: Andrea Purse, progressive strategist; Arkadi Gerney, The Hub Project; Joel Payne, The Hub Project; Christina Reynolds, EMILY’s List; Delvone Michael, Working Families; Felicia Wong, Roosevelt Institute; Mike Podhorzer, AFL-CIO; Jesse Ferguson, progressive strategist; Navin Nayak, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Stephanie Valencia, EquisLabs; and Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

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