• Polling

Strong Majorities Support the Biden Administration’s Testing and Mask Distribution Plans

Thursday, January 27, 2022 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
  • While the share saying “the worst is yet to come” in the pandemic is declining, vast majorities remain concerned about the spread of Omicron nationally and in their community.
  • Two in three have heard about President Biden’s plans to both send tests and distribute masks nationwide, with each earning support from more than seven in ten Americans.
  • Vaccinated Americans say Republicans’ spreading misinformation and promoting conspiracy theories are the most concerning aspects of how they have handled the pandemic.

Perceptions the “Worst Is Yet to Come” in the Pandemic Have Waned Since Early January

The drop is bipartisan: the share of Democrats who say the “worst is yet to come” went from 49% last wave to 41% this wave, among independents the drop was from 52% to 38%, and among Republicans, 46% to 40%.

Still, Seven in Ten Say They Are Concerned About Omicron’s Spread Both Nationally and Locally

Intensity of concerns has waned modestly since early January: 44% said they were “very concerned” about national spread and 43% about local spread in early January, while just 41% and 39% respectively say the same in our most recent wave.

One in Four Report Having Had Coronavirus Since the Pandemic Began; More than Four in Five Know Someone Infected

Republicans (86%) are more likely to know someone who has been infected than Democrats (82%) or independents (80%) – they also report the highest share of personal infection across parties (32% have personally had coronavirus).

Since Mid-December, One in Eight Americans Report Testing Positive for Coronavirus

Overall, 13% say they currently have or have had coronavirus since mid-December amid the Omicron surge, with nearly half of them testing positive at home instead of at a hospital, medical facility, or official testing site.

  • In early January, 9% said they had or previously had coronavirus since mid-December.

Biden’s Ratings Overall and on the Economy Remain Underwater, While He Is Narrowly in the Positive on Pandemic

Biden’s pandemic approval ratings remain the same as they were two weeks ago (+2 net approval).

Biden and Democrats Remain More Trusted to Handle Pandemic-Related Issues

Independents trust Biden and Democrats more by 28 points to ensure enough people are vaccinated and by 24 points to combat the pandemic overall; among vaccinated Americans, Biden and Democrats are more trusted by 35 points and 28 points, respectively.

More Than Three in Four Support Biden Sending Rapid Tests to American Households as Seven in Ten Report Hearing About It

More than three in four Americans support the Biden administration sending free rapid tests to American households (76%).

Nearly Seven in Ten Also Support Biden’s Plan to Distribute Millions of Free N95 Masks

Pluralities of independents and Republicans support the Biden administration’s plan to distribute 400 million free N95 masks to Americans, as do 91% of Democrats.

Steady Majorities Continue to Support Mask and Vaccine Mandates

Among independents, 59% support mask mandates and nearly half (48%) support vaccine mandates.

A Majority See Democrats Keeping Things Open With Precautions, While Just a Plurality Say the Same of Republicans

One in four Americans say Republican elected officials are trying to let the pandemic spread through the community, including 25% of independents.

Three in Five Agree More With Keeping Economy Open With Masks and Vaccines, Not By Returning to Pre-Pandemic Life

Three in five independents (62%) agree more with keeping the economy open with mask and vaccine requirements over returning to pre-pandemic normalcy, as do more than one in three Republicans (35%).

Protecting Others, Decreased Likelihood of Death, and Building Immunity Safely Are Best Reasons to Support Vaccine

Nearly two in five say the best reason to support the vaccine is to protect others: this is also the top reason chosen across partisanship.

Among Vaccinated, GOP Focus on Conspiracies and Misinformation Raises the Most Doubts on Pandemic Handling

Among vaccinated independents, Republicans opposing vaccine and mask requirements raises the most doubts (78%).

While Many Americans Are Unfamiliar With Novak Djokovic, Vaccinated Americans Have a More Unfavorable View Of Him

While just 18% of unvaccinated Americans have an unfavorable view of Djokovic, 30% of vaccinated Americans have an unfavorable view.

About The Study

This release features findings from national online surveys of 1,000 registered voters conducted January 20-24, 2022. Additional interviews were conducted among 100 Hispanic voters, 100 African American voters, 100 independents without a partisan lean, and 75 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.

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