Healthier Colorado Coronavirus Survey Political Observations Addendum

This blog post is an addendum to a survey summary of 1,000 adult residents in Colorado that was conducted from April 15th to April 21st, 2020. The overall margin of error for the survey is 3.10% at the 95% confidence interval. Survey response data was weighted to reflect the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 estimated demographics of the adult population in Colorado. This survey was commissioned by Healthier Colorado and the Colorado Health Foundation.

Survey Objectives and Addendum Focus:

The primary objective of this research project was to measure and understand the concerns, needs, experiences and viewpoints of Coloradans regarding the coronavirus pandemic. This addendum focuses specifically on the differences in responses and opinion among self-identified Republican, Democratic and unaffiliated respondents.

Key Findings:

  • Among all Coloradans, 35% feel the worst of the coronavirus is behind us, 43% feel the worst is yet to come, and 21% are unsure or do not have an opinion. There is a significant difference in opinion between Democratic and Republican respondents, with 53% of Republicans believing the worst is behind us compared to only 20% of Democrats and 33% of unaffiliated respondents thinking the worst is behind us.
  • Republican respondents were evenly divided on the policy question of keeping businesses closed (44%) vs opening up businesses (49%). Among Democratic respondents 80% prefer to keep businesses closed as do 68% of unaffiliated respondents. Among one of the most high-risk population subgroups, seniors aged 65 or older, an overwhelming 70% prefer to keep business closed.
  • Among all respondents, only 37% think the federal government’s response to the coronavirus has been excellent (12%) or good (25%). A closer look at the responses to this question finds significant differences by party affiliation, with 67% of Republicans rating the federal government’s handling as excellent or good, compared to only 20% of Democratic respondents and 30% of unaffiliated respondents.
  • The rating for the state government’s response to the virus was strong, with 62% of respondents saying their response was excellent or good. The state rating was 25 points higher than the federal government rating, 62% to 37% respectively.
  • Among Republican respondents, 26% thought President Donald Trump was extremely trustworthy in providing accurate information about the coronavirus and another 38% thought he was very trustworthy. Only 10% of Republican respondents thought the president was not trustworthy at all, and 26% said somewhat trustworthy. Among seniors aged 65 and older, a whopping 61% thought the president was not trustworthy at all in providing accurate information about the coronavirus.

Is the Worst of Coronavirus Behind Us or is the Worse Yet to Come?

Among all Coloradans, 35% feel the worst of the coronavirus is behind us, 43% feel the worst is yet to come, and 21% are unsure or do not have an opinion. The responses to this question are correlated to how much the coronavirus has disrupted a respondent’s way of life in terms of income, job security, and financial well-being. In other words, if the respondents still have their job and can pay their bills, they are more likely to say the worst is behind us. If the respondent has lost their job and their way of life has been significantly impacted, then they are more likely to believe the worst is yet to come. There is a significant difference in opinion between Democratic and Republican respondents to this question, with 53% of Republicans believing the worst is behind us compared to only 20% of Democrats and 33% of unaffiliated respondents.

Opinion of Coronavirus Policy and Safety Measures

Respondents were presented with two different viewpoints of policies aimed at slowing the coronavirus and then asked which they preferred. Among all respondents, 64% preferred a policy aimed to slow the spread of the coronavirus until more widespread testing became available, even if that meant many businesses will have to stay closed. Only 29% of respondents preferred a policy that would ease up on measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, in order to open businesses and get the economy going again, even if that meant more people would get coronavirus and could die.

One very interesting and powerful finding is 64% of Coloradans who have lost their job, lost income or had paid hours reduced due to the coronavirus preferred a policy that keeps businesses closed. This data makes it plainly clear a significant majority of Coloradans are putting safety ahead of financial security, including individuals who have been harmed the most economically.

The responses to this question show Republicans evenly divided, with 44% preferring Option A to keep businesses closed and 49% preferring Option B to allow businesses to open. Among Democratic respondents 80% prefer to keep businesses closed as do 68% of unaffiliated respondents. Among one of the most high-risk population subgroups, seniors aged 65 or older, and overwhelming 70% prefer Option A and wish to keep businesses closed.

Opinion of the Federal Governments Response to Coronavirus

Among all respondents, only 37% think the federal government’s response to the coronavirus has been excellent (12%) or good (25%).  A closer look at the responses to this question finds significant differences by party affiliation, with 67% of Republicans rating the federal government’s handling as excellent or good, compared to only 20% of Democratic respondents and 30% of unaffiliated respondents.

From a political viewpoint, this measurement is not good news for President Trump, with only two-thirds of his base rating the federal government’s response as excellent or good, and 20% rating it as fair and 11% poor. Another warning sign for President Trump is the opinion among seniors aged 65 and older, a critical subgroup that is vital to his re-election chances this November. Among seniors almost half, 49%, rate the federal government’s response to the coronavirus as poor.

Opinion of the State Government Response to Coronavirus

The rating for the state government’s response to the virus was strong, with 62% of respondents saying their response was excellent or good. The state rating was 25 points higher than the federal government rating, 62% to 37% respectively.

Opinion of Federal or State Government Leading Response to Virus

Fifty-six percent of Coloradans think the states should take the lead in coordinating the response to the coronavirus compared to 35% who feel the federal government should take the lead. The responses to this question across most population subgroups including gender, race, urban/suburban region and income are similar to the statewide percentages.

However, there are a few population subgroups that stand out, including individuals who are having a very difficult time paying for necessities (43% say fed should lead), single men (45% say fed should lead), 18-29 years old (split 44%/44%), people who live in rural areas (64% say state should lead), caretakers (61% say state should lead) and respondents who are not concerned at all about losing their job or income (63% state should lead).

Trustworthiness of Coronavirus Information Sources

The survey asked Coloradans to rate the trustworthiness of five different individuals and organizations when it comes to providing accurate information about the coronavirus. The two most trustworthy organizations were the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (57% extremely or very trustworthy) and the Centers for Disease Control (55% extremely or very trustworthy).  The trustworthy rating for Governor Jared Polis was 50%, for President Trump it was 29%, and the news media received a 20% combined trustworthy rating.

Among Republican respondents, 26% thought President Donald Trump was extremely trustworthy and another 38% thought he was very trustworthy. Only 10% of Republican respondents thought the president was not trustworthy at all, and 26% said somewhat trustworthy. Among seniors aged 65 and older, a whopping 61% thought the president was not trustworthy at all.

Conclusion

The purpose of this survey addendum was to provide some political analysis of the survey’s findings. If you would like to look at the full results of the survey, please visit www.HealthierColorado.com.

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