Democrats Are Much More Worried About the Coronavirus Outbreak Than Republicans, Survey Finds

Democrats are much more worried about the coronavirus outbreak than Republicans, a new poll has found.

The Gallup poll found the number of Americans worried about the coronavirus pandemic has surged over the past month—while confidence in the U.S. government's ability to handle the crisis has dropped.

Six in 10 Americans are now "very" or "somewhat worried" that they or a family member with be exposed to the new coronavirus, up from 36 percent in February. The level of anxiety in the U.S. is much higher than Gallup measured during previous health scares, including SARS, anthrax and the West Nile virus.

According to Gallup, the poll found increased worry among all major subgroups, but the rise was much higher in Democrats than among Republicans.

Almost three-quarters (73 percent) of Democrats said they were "very" or "somewhat concerned" about the coronavirus outbreak, up from 26 percent in February. But only 42 percent of Republicans said the same, up from 30 percent in February.

President Donald Trump, joined by members of the Coronavirus Task Force, speaks about the coronavirus in the press briefing room at the White House on March 16, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Win McNamee/Getty Images

The survey was conducted was between March 2 and 13 with a random sample of more than 1,000 adults in all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. shortly after the first coronavirus-related death in the county occurred and as the Trump administration ramped up its response.

During the period of polling, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency and banned foreign nationals from Europe entering the U.S., while financial markets tumbled. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic and countries around the world imposed strict measures to slow the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, confidence in the U.S. government's ability to handle the pandemic has dropped by 16 percent.

Last month, more than three-quarters of Americans said they were confident the Trump administration could deal with the outbreak—but the latest survey found that has dropped substantially to just 61 percent.

Only 24 percent of Americans are "very confident" of the government's ability to tackle the outbreak and 37 percent are "somewhat confident."

But the confidence of Republicans in the government's ability remains as high as it was last month, with almost nine in 10 saying they are "very" or "somewhat confident."

After weeks of downplaying the risks posed by the coronavirus outbreak, on Monday, Trump struck a more serious tone and warned that the disruption to American lives could last until the end of the summer or even longer.

He also outlined the government's newest recommendations, which included urging older people and those with chronic health conditions to stay at home and advising all Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.

There are more than 4,660 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and the death toll climbed to 85 on Tuesday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University. Seventeen people have recovered.

Globally, the new coronavirus has sickened more than 185,000 people and killed more than 7,330. More than 80,000 people have recovered.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, shows the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world as of March 17.

statista, coronavirus, covid19,
A map showing worldwide cases of COVID-19, as of March 17. Statista

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of COVID-19

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing;
  • When caring for the sick; before; during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • If you feel unwell seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities, follow guidance.

Mask usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks.
  • Clean hands after disposing of mask, do not reuse single-use masks.