Deep partisan divide over coronavirus threat: poll

Deep partisan divide over coronavirus threat: poll

How concerned are you about the coronavirus outbreak?

The answer may depend on whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, a new national poll suggests.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released Sunday found that just over half of Americans are worried that a family member may catch the virus that causes COVID-19, and that six in 10 say the worst is yet to come regarding the pandemic.


But the poll, which was conducted almost entirely before President Trump declared a national emergency on Friday, points to a wide partisan divide on attitudes regarding the outbreak.

Sixty-eight percent of Democrats said they were concerned that a family member could contract the virus. But that number dropped to 40 percent among Republicans. Nearly eight in 10 Democrats felt the worst was yet to come in coping with the pandemic. That number dropped in half to 40 percent among Republicans.

Six in 10 Democrats said they’ve stopped or plan to stop going to any large gatherings. That percentage dropped in half for Republicans. And 47 percent of Democrats, but just 23 percent of Republicans, said they were canceling or rescheduling travel plans.

Spotlighting the gravity of the situation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday recommended against holding gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks.

The president, at a Sunday news conference, told Americans to “relax” and said “we’re doing great, it will all pass” as he urged shoppers not to hoard supplies and food at stories.


According to the poll, 45 percent of Americans gave the president a thumbs up for how he’s handling the coronavirus outbreak. But there’s a gigantic partisan divide. Eighty-one percent of Republicans, but just 13 percent of Democrats, approved of the job he’s doing battling the virus, with independents at 43 percent.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was conducted March 11-13 (Wednesday-Friday), with 900 registered voters nationwide questioned by live telephone operators. The survey’s overall sampling error is 3.3 percentage points.

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