• Polling

Pandemic Optimism Reaches An All-Time High

Wednesday, May 26, 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 from the survey

  • More than seven in ten Americans say the worst of the pandemic is over, the highest in our tracking.
  • A majority says their local community is reopening at the right pace, while two in five say the same of the country.
  • A growing share now say life will return to normal before 2022.


Vast Majority Say the Worst of the Pandemic Is Over – a Major Shift Since February

Since our first survey conducted after Biden took office in early February, the share of Americans saying “the worst is over” has increased 41 points (from 30% to 71%).

Nearly Three in Four Approve of Vaccine Rollout, as More Americans Report Being Vaccinated

Now, 69% of Democrats, 52% of independents, and 51% of Republicans have been vaccinated: at the same time, 89% of Democrats, 65% of independents, and 60% of Republicans approve of how the vaccine rollout has gone.

Plurality Says the Country Is Reopening at the Right Pace and a Majority Says the Same of Their Community

Among independents, nearly half (47%) say the country is reopening at a pace that is “just about right” and 56% say the same of their local community.

More Expect Life to Return to Normal Before 2022

This March, just 44% said they expected life to return to normal sometime this year: now, nearly three in five (59%) say the same.

Three in Five Americans Report Having Returned Mostly to Normal, Pre-Pandemic Life

Republicans (74%) are most likely to say they have “mostly” or “completely” resumed life as normal, while just around half of Democrats (53%) and independents (58%) say the same.

Despite Pace of Reopening, Most Plan to Continue Wearing Masks and Socially Distancing Some of the Time

A majority of independents say they will wear a mask (69%) and socially distance (71%) at least sometimes.

Biden’s Approval Ratings on the Pandemic, the Economy, and on His Overall Job Performance Remain Positive

Biden’s approval ratings are at net +9 overall, +4 on the economy, and +28 on the pandemic.

Vaccines, Pandemic, and Economy Remain Most Discussed Biden Positives This Week

More than nine in ten Democrats (91%), 66% of independents, and 45% of Republicans report hearing “mostly positive” or a “mix of positive and negative” on Biden this week.

Biden and Democrats More Trusted on Pandemic, Health Care, and “Treating Others the Way You Would Like to Be Treated”

Among independents, Biden and the Democratic Party are more trusted across each issue area, including by more than 20 points on the pandemic (+36), health care (+27), and “treating others the way you would like to be treated” (+26).

About The Study

This release features findings from a national online survey of 1,204 registered voters conducted May 20-24, 2021. Additional interviews were conducted among 149 Hispanic voters, 100 African American voters, 100 independents without a partisan lean, and 194 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