3 years later: Our COVID-19 poll predictions revisited
In April 2020, our agency released our initial report on the public's reaction to the arrival of Covid-19 as well as our 4 predictions on how public opinion would change forever. It was one of our most labor-intense projects ever and we even brought in our co-founder and head UX designer to do the graphics and data visualization for the slides. In this article, we are going to take a quick look back at the report and predictions.
Prediction 1 – Millions of New Voices
The research validated what many of us have observed on our social media feeds – previously non-political individuals were beginning to share views and express their voices online for the first time. Among the respondents who typically refrain from sharing their political beliefs online, a staggering 45% of them confirmed that they DO express their opinions about COVID-19 on social media.
Prediction 2 – Blurred Party Lines
Initially, a significant number of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents shared concerns about both the public health and economic threats posed by Covid-19. During this period, both parties primarily relied on the CDC and public health leaders such as Fauci to guide their decision-making and messaging. While Democrats have largely maintained this approach, Republicans diverged in the months following our report, with increasing differences of opinion on issues such as prolonged business lockdowns, education policies, mask mandates, and eventually the vaccine mandates.
Prediction 3 – Big Interest in Local Government
Within a month of the pandemic’s onset, over half of Americans (52%) expressed heightened interest in local elections, citing the significant involvement of local governments in handling the Covid-19 threat. As the pandemic persisted, it became increasingly apparent to Americans how much influence local governments have over key areas of life, such as the economy, education system, and overall way of life. Consequently, public interest in local elections and government officials remains high to this day.
Prediction 4 – Biothreat Defense Policy is a Big Deal
Even in the early stages of the pandemic, we observed a growing demand for policy solutions from state governments, more so than from any other level of government. As the pandemic progressed, and states began to adopt varying policies to manage it, a historic wave of interstate migration followed, driven in part by differences in each state’s Covid-19 response. Now, three years later, public interest remains high regarding the virus’s origins and America’s role in funding Gain-of-Function research. Additionally, party lines have formed over the degree of control that should be centralized and given to agencies such as the CDC and the World Health Organization to manage the pandemic response.
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