Public Opinion on Coronavirus: Navigator Update

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.

This release features findings from a national online survey of 1,002 registered voters conducted August 21 – 24, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • Nearly a quarter of Americans know someone personally who has died from coronavirus. One in ten African Americans and Hispanic Americans report having lost a family member.
  • A vast majority supports keeping social distancing measures in place until a vaccine is developed and readily available.
  • Most Americans are unfamiliar with Q-Anon – but those familiar have unfavorable views of the group.

More Than One in Five Know Someone Who Has Died From Coronavirus, With Higher Rates Among People of Color

Nearly a quarter of Americans know someone – be them a family member, friend, or someone else they personally know – who has died as a result of coronavirus, and 6% say a family member has died.

  • Black (33%) and Hispanic (30%) Americans are more likely than white Americans (20%) to know someone who has died. Among Black Americans, 11% say a family member has died and 10% of Hispanics say the same.

Women, Younger Americans, and Democrats Most Stressed By Pandemic

More than two in three Americans overall say the pandemic is causing them “a lot” or “some” stress – with men, Americans 65+, and Republicans saying they are less stressed.

Public Strongly Supports Keeping Social Distancing Measures in Place Until a Vaccine is Developed and Available

Four in five support keeping social distancing measures in place until a vaccine is developed and readily available – and about three in five “strongly support” keeping them in place until then.

Majority Support “More Aggressive” Social Distancing

More than half continue to say the country needs more aggressive social distancing measures, while less than a third say the country is currently “doing the right thing when it comes to social distancing.”

  • On a separate question, 54% say the “worst is yet to come” in the pandemic, while only 28% say the “worst is over.”

Three in Five Remain Concerned Social Distancing Will End Too Soon

Only three in ten are more concerned social distancing will go on too long rather than end too soon.

  • Even among Republicans, 42% are more concerned social distancing will end too soon, while 46% are more concerned social distancing will go on too long.

Despite Small Uptick in Support, Most Americans Continue to Oppose Reopening Schools

While there has still been a significant increase since June 1 in the share who oppose reopening schools, in the last two weeks, there has been an increase in the share who support reopening them while opposition is on the decline.

  • Among parents, support has grown 7 points while opposition has declined 9 points in the last two weeks.

Most Are Unfamiliar with Q-Anon and Those Familiar Hold Unfavorable Views

A third of Americans are unfavorable to Q-Anon while three in five are not familiar with the group.

  • Among Fox News Republicans, however, nearly one in six have a favorable view of the group, while only 5% of non-Fox News Republicans have a favorable view.