As part of the Hidden Common Ground initiative with the National Issues Forums network, Public Agenda, USA TODAY and Ipsos released a new poll today showing that while 74 percent of Americans view COVID-19 as a major threat to the nation, it also has caused them to draw closer to their families and communities.
The poll, conducted March 27-30, showed that 78 percent of Americans also believe the coronavirus crisis poses a very high or high threat to the global economy, Ipsos and Public Agenda found. Yet 65 percent say the threat to them personally is moderate or low, and 52 percent considered it a moderate or low threat to their communities.
“A sense of community is evident in people’s behaviors since the crisis began. Americans are coming together to support local businesses (69 percent) and contacting friends and family more than they usually do (66 percent),” Public Agenda and Ipsos said in announcing the results. “In fact, six in ten (59 percent) have forsaken new technology by calling close friends and family whom they would normally text or IM. Nearly half (48 percent) have checked in on elderly or sick neighbors.”
The extraordinarily high levels of concern are evident in broad support for a wide range of possible actions, including free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs it, actions by the federal government to compel manufacturers to shift production toward medical supplies, and mandating that the pharmaceutical industry shift all possible resources towards research into treatments and vaccines. Public Agenda and Ipsos also found that most Americans support no-interest loans for businesses from the federal government and direct cash payments to those who need it.
When it comes to eventual recovery, 83 percent of Americans agreed that the United States should reboot the economy “slowly and carefully” to keep the virus contained and protect lives.
Moving to Deliberation
In the coming months, Americans will be seeking opportunities to deliberate on how to address the daunting challenges we face in the wake of the pandemic and how to plan for the future.
The National Issues Forums Institute, NIFI, a nationwide network of civic groups that includes faith-based institutions, libraries, senior centers, community groups, colleges and high schools among others, is currently preparing a new issue guide for public deliberation about how to rebuild our economy as the pandemic comes under control. We are also planning other relevant guides and advisories to help people deliberate together about our difficult national and local choices.
The new Public Agenda/Ipsos survey, available in full from the Public Agenda website [http://bit.ly/HCG_COVID19] is also being covered in depth by USA TODAY and the America Amplified public radio network.