• Polling

Concerns About Delta Variant Are Driving Pandemic Concerns

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 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

  • Among those hearing positive news around Biden, the major topics include vaccines, infrastructure, the child tax credit, and the pandemic broadly.
  • As the share who say “the worst is yet to come” about the pandemic rises, new variants and the number of unvaccinated Americans are driving increasing pessimism.
  • Majorities report being concerned about the Delta variant spreading both nationwide and in their local communities.


Biden’s Ratings on His Handling of His Job as President, the Pandemic, and the Economy All Remain Positive

Biden’s approval ratings are at +25 on the pandemic, +8 overall, and +5 on the economy.

Vaccines, Infrastructure, the Child Tax Credit, and the Pandemic Dominate the Positive Conversation Around Biden

Nine in ten Democrats (89%), 59% of independents, and 38% of Republicans are hearing “mostly positive” or a “mix
of positive and negative” on Biden.

As Concerns About the Delta Variant Grow, Fewer Now Saying Worst of Pandemic is Over

Increasing pessimism about the state of the pandemic is cross-partisan: there has been a 19-point increase in the share of Democrats who say the “worst is yet to come” (from 13% to 32%), a 13-point increase among independents (16% to 29%), and an 11-point increase among Republicans (from 11% to 22%) since mid-June.

New Variants (Delta Specifically) and the Share of Americans Still Unvaccinated Drive View That “Worst Is Yet to Come”

Among respondents who say “the worst is yet to come,” they cite the number of Americans who are still not
vaccinated, variants generally, and specifically the Delta variant as reasons why they feel this way.

  • Compared to when last asked in March of 2021, new variants and unvaccinated Americans remain top concerns.

Two in Three Concerned About National and Local Spread of the Delta Variant

Less than two in five Republicans who watch Fox News* are concerned about either the national or local spread of the Delta variant, compared to roughly half of non-Fox News Republicans who are concerned about each.

Four in Five Say Delta Variant Will Lead to Re-Introduction of Mask Mandates and Social Distancing

Among those who live in “hot spot” states, or states with recent surges in coronavirus cases, 82% say the Delta variant will lead to some parts of the country re-introducing measures like mask mandates.

Vaccine Rollout Approval Remains at Roughly Three in Four As Vaccination Rates Plateau

Across party lines, at least three in five approve of the vaccine rollout: 86% of Democrats, 60% of independents, and 61% of Republicans each approve.

Among Those Unlikely to Get Vaccinated, Their Top Concerns Are Rushed Approval and Side Effects

Among the 22% of Americans who say they are unlikely to get the coronavirus vaccine, their top concerns are that the vaccine development was rushed or that there will be side effects.

Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Republicans Divided by Media Consumption, Geography, and Income

Vaccinated Republicans are more likely to not watch Fox News, live in suburban areas, and make a higher income than Republicans who are not vaccinated.

About The Study

This release features findings from a national online survey of 1,000 registered voters conducted July 15-19, 2021. Additional interviews were conducted among 100 Hispanic voters, 101 African American voters, 100 independents without a partisan lean, and 71 Asian American and Pacific Islander 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.

For press inquiries contact: press@navigatorresearch.org