Sixty-five percent of Republicans say it’s safe to resume normal life as the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year, compared with only 11 percent of Democrats who saw it that way, according to a national survey completed last month.
But a majority of independents, Republicans and Democrats agree on at least one notion: They believe the worst of the disease has passed. Sixty-nine percent of Democrats, 62 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of independents answered that way, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
While it’s little surprise that a phenomenon as disruptive as the coronavirus has generated diverse views, the survey found differences in opinion are stark. Not surprisingly, some of those are attributable to partisan perspectives, the foundation reported.
New Mexico is about to hit 7,000 deaths from the disease. Nationwide, the death toll is nearing 1 million.
The Kaiser Family Foundation has tracked American views of the pandemic almost from the beginning.
The survey was conducted Feb. 9-21 and published Tuesday. It involved more than 1,500 Americans, who were contacted by phone. About 73 percent of those surveyed had acquired at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
The report said “there are disagreements about what returning to normal means and when it should happen.” Independents stood right in the middle of the two political parties on the question of getting back to normal now. Thirty-eight percent of independents agreed it was time to do so.
Sixty-one percent of those surveyed “worried that lifting some pandemic restrictions could leave immune-compromised people behind due to their increased risk of getting sick.” Over 6 in 10 “are also worried that if masking and testing requirements are not lifted that kids and teenagers’ mental health will suffer or that local businesses will suffer due to loss of revenue.”
Sixty-six percent of Democrats surveyed said they would require all students and school staffers to wear masks; only 14 percent of Republicans answered in that manner. Independents again were near the middle, with 38 percent saying they would require masks in schools.
Asked if they were at least somewhat worried that if authorities lifted restrictions, more people in the community would die, 70 percent of Democrats said yes compared with 23 percent of Republicans and 46 percent of independents.
But the survey also found the coronavirus isn’t a key issue among voters of any affiliation. The report said “voters have already moved on to other key issues” and the pandemic “doesn’t currently rank among the top four issues for any group of voters.”