MAY 8, 2020 | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BEREFT OF UNIFYING LEADERSHIP, AMERICANS ARE DIVIDED ON RE-OPENING THE ECONOMY
Political party has an outsized impact on opinions about when, where and how stay-at-home restrictions should be lifted
DENVER, CO – As most states move toward relaxing strict COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, public opinion on the timing and aggressiveness of these new policies is splintering along party lines.
According to a new survey by ROI Rocket, a leading provider of market research-based consulting services, about half of Republicans (51%) believe re-opening the economy is happening too slowly. This figure stands in stark contrast to the majority of Democrats (86%) and Independents (64%) worried pandemic restrictions are being lifted too quickly.
Nationally, about two in three Democrats (65%) continue to support mandatory stay-at-home policies compared to about one in three Republicans (36%). In the South, a region that leans strongly Republican, support for stay-at-home orders has declined by 14% over the last two weeks. Public opinion in that region has shifted toward a voluntary, individualistic solutions to the virus.
These political and related regional differences appear to be widening, in part, due to the growing perception of a leadership vacuum. The ROI Rocket survey charts a steady decline in the public’s confidence in key political leaders, government entities and health experts. For instance, only about one in four Americans (26%) now approve of President Trump’s handling of the pandemic.
In addition to the real, unforgettable cost in human lives, the coronavirus pandemic has devastated the U.S. economy. About one in five Americans (20%) report their place of employment has closed temporarily or permanently. Another roughly one in four (24%) are working for businesses with reduced hours, staff or key products.
These economic impacts have given rise to anti-lockdown protests that largely represent the opinions of Republicans. Only about 27% of Republicans strongly oppose the demonstrations compared to about three in five Democrats (63%). Despite the negative views held by many health experts on the protests, a sizeable plurality of Republicans—about 44%—say they’re unsure about them.
Resigned to a lack of unifying leadership on how to best manage the pandemic, Americans are increasingly reverting to pre-pandemic partisan divisions. Which policies prevail in this next phase of the pandemic will be determined by the laboratory approach adopted as a default.
ABOUT THIS RESEARCH
This study of 1,002 U.S. residents aged 18 and older was fielded between April 28 and May 1, 2020. The results have an associated margin of error of +/- 3.1% at the 95% confidence level in the most conservative case. This means the results come within plus or minus 3.1% of the results that would have been obtained given a census of all qualified individuals. Sample collection was balanced to U.S. Census figures for gender, age, race/ethnicity and household income.
The study is projected to run for another nine (9) weeks and include separate, supplemental studies of business leaders and healthcare professionals. Press releases will be issued periodically for these studies as warranted by the results.
ABOUT ROI ROCKET
Founded in 2007, ROI Rocket is a leading provider of full-service market research, marketing and sales automation, and digital agency support with offices in Denver, CO, Vancouver, WA, and Jacksonville, FL.