COVID-19 National Polling Summary: Wave 6

Since early March we have examined a host of issues surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, including personal health concerns, behavioral changes, the economic impact, opinions on privacy, information sources and perceptions of how elected officials have handled the crisis.

Our most recent summary explores attitudes on resuming everyday activities, the economic impact of COVID-19, the impact on the election and public policy, the role of government in society and some early signs of potential long-term changes. Summary points can be found below.

Our latest summary on attitudes surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.

The POS Healthcare Team,

Bill, Elizabeth, Jarrett and Micah


  • Americans Are Returning To Pre-COVID Life, Although A Majority Remain Concerned About Infection And A Second Wave.
    • Americans are returning to pre-COVID-19 life (although not as quickly as depicted in the images from Lake of the Ozarks or beaches around the country over Memorial Day Weekend).
    • In terms of attitudes on reopening/resuming life, there are three “buckets” of people:

“Reopen Now”

“Wait & See”

“We Need A Vaccine”

Most Americans fall into the middle group. They are looking for positive indicators (e.g., drop in local case count, etc.) and most will adhere to the recommended guidelines, but they are looking to resume their lives.

  • Partisanship Is Driving Attitudes/Opinions On COVID-19.
    • Urban/Rural. Men/Women. Millennials/Boomers. There are clear differences in attitudes by different sub-groups. But the starkest dividing line is partisanship.
    • Republicans believe the rate of infections is slowing and that non-essential businesses should be allowed to reopen, while Democrats believe the rate of infections is speeding up and that non-essential businesses should remain closed.
  • COVID-19 Will Undoubtedly Play A Large Role In November, But It Is Not Yet Clear How It Will Impact The Election.
    • President Trump’s approval on handling the issue has softened since the outbreak began. And voters indicate they trust former Vice President Biden on handling COVID-19 and on healthcare (which, as a reminder, was the top issue before the outbreak began).
    • But, a majority of voters approve of how the President has handled the economy and indicate trusting him on the economy more than Vice President Biden.
    • Opinions on the role of government have shifted, as nearly 70% of Americans believe the government should be doing more, a sharp reversal from attitudes over the last decade about government’s role.
  • The Pharmaceutical Industry Receives Positive Ratings On Their Response To COVID19, Although Expectations On A Vaccine Timeline Are Lofty.
    • A majority of Americans believe the industry has had a good response to the outbreak and a majority say they are more favorable towards the industry.
    • Americans have lofty expectations for a vaccine (i.e., within 18 months). Despite as many “shots on goal” as there are in process right now, the fastest vaccine development in history is 4 years (mumps). Public health officials, elected officials and business leaders may want to frame near-term expectations around treatments that lower the severity of effects/fatality rate and not a vaccine.
  • There Are Early Signs Of Potential Long-Term Societal Changes.
    • We may not see as dramatic of societal changes that we have seen in previous pandemics, but COVID-19 appears poised to leave some lasting changes. Remote work may be one of those lasting changes. Tens of millions of Americans have worked from home over these last few months and many have had a very positive reaction to doing so and express interest in the ability to continue (at least some of the time) once their office reopens.


Public Opinion Strategies