• Polling

Americans Are “Exhausted” but “Hopeful”

Friday, March 5, 2021
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For the first time in Navigator’s tracking, a plurality say the “worst is over” in the pandemic rather than the “worst is yet to come.” The public reports feeling "exhausted" but "hopeful," but a majority say life will not return to normal until at least 2022. A majority who know what schools in their community are doing currently say the plan for K-12 schools is “going well,” including parents.

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 1,007 registered voters conducted February 25-March 1, 2021. Additional interviews were conducted among 100 Hispanic voters, 100 African American voters, 100 independents without a partisan lean, and 72 Asian American and Pacific Islander voters.

Key takeaways

  • For the first time in Navigator’s tracking, a plurality say the
    “worst is over” in the pandemic rather than the “worst is yet to come.”
  • The public reports feeling “exhausted” but “hopeful,” but a majority say life will not return to normal until at least 2022.
  • A majority who know what schools in their community are doing currently say the plan for K-12 schools is “going well,” including parents.

Nearly Half Say “Worst is Over” About the Pandemic, the Highest in Navigator’s Tracking Over the Last Year

More than four in ten Americans now say that ”the worst is over” when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, a 16-point increase since February 1st.

On Pandemic, Americans Are “Exhausted” Yet “Hopeful”

Americans report feeling “exhausted” and “hopeful” about the current state of the pandemic.

  • Democrats, Black Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics are the most likely to report feeling “hopeful,” while independents, Republicans, and whites are the most likely to report feeling “exhausted.”

Vaccines and Declining Cases Drive Perception “Worst is Over”

Among respondents who say ”the worst is over” when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, increased vaccine distribution and declining cases are the top reasons why.

New Variants and Vaccine Rollout Drive Perception Among Those Saying “Worst is Yet to Come”

Among respondents who say “the worst is yet to come” when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, new variants of the virus, along with negative perceptions of the vaccine rollout, are top reasons why.

Three in Four Know Someone Who Has Been Vaccinated, With a Majority of Those Who Haven’t Likely to Get Once Available

Since February 1st, the share who report having personally gotten vaccinated has increased by 8 points (from 9% to 17%) and the share who know someone who has gotten vaccinated has increased by 18 points (59% to 77%).

Nearly a Year into the Pandemic, Americans More Cautious About a Return to Normalcy

In April 2020, 72% expected a return to normalcy by the end of 2020; now, 56% say not until 2022 or never.

Americans Looking Forward to Spending Time with Friends and Family and Socializing Outside of the Home Most

Across age groups and income levels, seeing loved ones and going out to restaurants and bars are top of mind.

A Majority Say Biden is Getting His Pandemic Response “About Right” While Trump “Did Not Do Enough”

Even among Republicans, a quarter say Biden is “getting it about right” on his response to the pandemic.

Most See Positive Impact from Biden’s Pandemic-Related Policies

Nearly a third of Americans say Biden’s policies have had a “very positive” impact.

  • Among independents, two in three (66%) say his policies have had a positive impact on the pandemic.

Support For Rescue Plan Increases as Americans Learn More

Democrats and independents who report hearing “a lot” or “some” about the American Rescue Plan are more likely to support it than Democrats and independents who have heard “a little” or “nothing.”

  • Among Republicans, support remains stable as they hear more, though opposition rises.

Plurality Approve of Biden’s Handling of Reopening Schools, But Sizeable Chunk Is Not Sure

Two in five Americans approve of Biden’s handling of reopening schools.

A Plurality Say Schools Should Be Partially Open, With a Growing Share Saying “Fully”

The share who say schools should be fully open has increased by 11 points since September 14th.

  • Among parents, there has been a 9-point increase in the share who say “fully” open (from 21% to 30%).

No Massive Unrest Over the Way Schools Openings Are Going

Three in five who are aware of what schools in their community are doing on the issue of reopening say it is going well, including seven in ten parents.

  • Those in communities where schools are fully reopened, more than three in four (77%) say it is going well, while in communities where schools are closed, 55% say it is going well.

Progressive Messaging on Schools Reopening Should Emphasize a Desire to Reopen Soon, But Making Sure It Is Done Right 

While more agree with framing that “those who are pushing to reopen schools now are being irresponsible” than with those who want to reopen schools immediately, three in four Americans agree with those who “want to reopen schools but want to make sure it’s done in the right way for the safety of students and teachers.”

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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