• Polling

The Delta Variant and Rising Cases Renew Pandemic Concerns

Thursday, August 5, 2021 By Bryan Bennett
Download Full Report
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

  • The Delta variant and rising case numbers are top worries for Americans on the pandemic, as a plurality say the “worst is yet to come” for the first time since February.
  • Despite rising cases and worries, Biden and Democrats remain more trusted to handle the pandemic and Republicans more blamed for the rise.
  • Half of Americans say Biden is doing enough to get people vaccinated, while just one in four say the same of Republicans.

As Concerns About Delta Variant Grow, Plurality Now Say Worst Is Yet to Come

The greatest share since February 2021 now say the “worst is yet to come” in the pandemic, up 17 points since just two weeks ago and 31 points since mid-June.

Share Saying Worst Is Yet to Come Increasing Across Party Lines and By News Consumption

Since mid-July, there have been double-digit increases in the belief the “worst is yet to come” among Fox News viewers (+14), CNN viewers (+16), and MSNBC viewers (+14).

More than the Olympics or Space Travel, Americans Are Hearing Most About Rising Cases

Three in four Americans report hearing about “breakthrough cases” among vaccinated people and four in five report hearing about increasing coronavirus cases, both higher than have heard about the Olympics.

Rising Cases Nationwide Are Top Worry, Less Fear About Personal Risk

Compared to April 2020, those “very worried” about both personal infection (30% in April 2020) and someone close to you getting infected (43% in April 2020) are lower now.

Lagging Vaccination Rates and the Delta Variant Top Concerns, With Many Placing Blame on Republican Governors

Among respondents who say “the worst is yet to come,” major drivers of this belief are the spread of the Delta variant, rising case counts, and those who are unvaccinated, with many expressing frustration with Republican governors – particularly Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

While Biden’s Approval Overall and on the Economy Remain Steady, His Pandemic Approval Sees Slight Downtick

While Biden’s approval has remained consistently high on his job overall (net +5) and the economy (+2), there’s been a slight decline in his approval on handling the pandemic (+15).

But, Biden and Democrats Still Much More Trusted to Handle the Pandemic Than Republicans

More than half of Americans trust Biden and the Democratic Party (53%) more than the Republican Party to combat coronavirus.

More Say Biden Is Doing Enough to Get Americans Vaccinated Than Republicans in Congress

Among independents, 42% think President Biden is doing enough to get Americans vaccinated, while only 24% say the same of Congressional Republicans.

Majority Say the Rate of Vaccination in the United States Is Too Low

Among those who are vaccinated, 77% say the rates of vaccination are too low.

Vaccine Blame Is Clear: Social Media Misinformation, Trump, and Republicans

Among the 55% of Americans who say vaccination rates are too low, 68% blame misinformation on social media, 44% blame Trump, and 41% blame Republicans in Congress.

Americans Evenly Split on Attacks That Blame Biden For Prematurely Taking Credit vs. Republicans Making Things Worse

Americans are split between believing President Biden is responsible for rising cases because he took credit for the pandemic being over prematurely, and Republicans being responsible for rising cases because they downplayed the threat of the virus or oppose vaccinations and spread misinformation.

The FDA and CDC Are Still Viewed Favorably; Most Are Unfavorable Toward Unvaccinated Americans

Since December 2020, roughly seven in ten continue to hold a favorable view of the FDA (68% favorable now, 71% then); the same is true of the CDC now (62%) compared to when last asked in May 2021 (67%).

About The Study

This release features findings from a national online survey of 1,000 registered voters conducted July 29-August 2, 2021. Additional interviews were conducted among 110 Hispanic voters, 105 African American voters, 100 independents without a partisan lean, and 79 Asian American and Pacific Islander voters.

Like the info here?

Get it directly in your inbox when new polls are released.

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