The COVID Relief Was Not Enough

Friday, January 15, 2021

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 1,000 registered voters conducted January 8-11, 2021. 104 additional interviews were conducted among Hispanic voters, 103 additional interviews were conducted among African American voters, and 100 additional interviews were conducted among independents without a partisan lean.

Key takeaways

  • Three in four know someone who has had coronavirus, one in ten have had it themselves, and one in three know someone who has died because of complications related to it.
  • Just 4% report having already gotten vaccinated, with likelihood to get vaccinated starkly divided by partisanship, ideology, and news consumption habits.
  • The public says the economy is “not so good” or “poor” and feels the most recent economic relief bill was not enough.

The Pandemic and Economy Are the Most Important Issues for President-Elect Biden and Congress to Focus On

The issues Americans rate as most important for Biden to focus on include the pandemic and jobs and the economy. Partisans are split over placing health care or corruption in government as the next most important.

More Than Three in Four Know Someone Who Has Had Coronavirus, Including One in Ten Who Have Had It Personally

Since March 2020, the share who know someone who has had coronavirus has increased more than 8-fold.

  • Groups most likely to know someone who has been infected include Hispanic Americans (87%), Midwesterners (81%), those who have most recently worked in the service industry (81%), and women (79%).
  • In March 2020, only 9% reported knowing someone who had coronavirus.

A Third of Americans Know Someone Personally Who Has Died from Complications Related to Coronavirus

Groups especially likely to know someone who has died from complications related to coronavirus include Hispanic Americans (47%), weekly churchgoers (46%), and those in union households (44%).

  • In comparison, only 10% knew someone who had died due to complications from coronavirus in April 2020.

Majority Still Say the “Worst is Yet to Come” After Almost a Year of the Pandemic

Three in five say the “worst is yet to come” in the pandemic while only a quarter say the “worst is over.”

  • Across party lines, pluralities agree the “worst is yet to come”: 70% of Democrats, 55% of independents, and 45% of Republicans.

Almost Half Know Someone Who Has Been Vaccinated

Nearly half of Americans say they personally know someone who has received the coronavirus vaccine.

  • Black Americans (73%) are the most likely to say nobody they know has received the vaccine.

Partisanship and Media Consumption Drivers of Aversion to Coronavirus Vaccination

Newsmax, Fox, and OANN viewers are twice as likely to say they are “unlikely to get vaccinated” as CNN and MSNBC viewers, and very conservative Republicans are nearly three times as likely as liberal Democrats to say the same.

Among Those Unlikely to Get Vaccinated, Their Top Concerns Are Speed, Side Effects, or Distrust of Vaccines Generally

Among the 28% of Americans who are unlikely to get the coronavirus vaccine, most worry the vaccine has been rushed, that there will be side effects, or do not trust vaccines in general.

Majorities Say the Economy is “Not So Good” or “Poor” and That It Is “Getting Worse”

Democrats and Black Americans are the most pessimistic about the state of the economy, with white Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Republicans the most optimistic.

On Personal Finances, Most Americans Feel Uneasy

Only one in ten Americans say they are “very confident” about their personal finances over the next few months, while one in five say they are “very uneasy.”

  • Hispanic Americans (26%) and independents (26%) are the most likely to say they feel “very uneasy.”

More Than Half Feel Strongly the Most Recent Economic Relief Bill Was Not Enough

Three quarters of Americans (77%) do not think the recent economic relief bill was enough, despite a similar share (74%) reporting already having received money from the bill.

Biden and Democrats More Trusted to Handle Pandemic, Health Care, Economy, and Corruption in Government

Biden and Democrats hold a 24-point lead over Republicans in Congress on trust to handle the pandemic.

  • Independents trust Biden and Democrats more on the pandemic by 27 points and on health care by 20 points.