Nov 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Axios-Ipsos poll: No widespread COVID school backlash

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Most Americans — including more than two-thirds of Republicans — give their local schools good marks for balancing public health and safety with other priorities, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: Other findings from our national survey suggest Americans are less worried about COVID risks and largely feel the Delta variant is behind them. That's a potential path to redemption for President Biden after months of sinking approval numbers.

Why it matters: Republicans are weaponizing dissatisfaction around schools to shape elections. But when it comes to COVID issues specifically, the survey finds discontent is being driven by a vocal but small minority. Fewer than one in 10 parents said schools have done a "very poor job."

What they're saying: "A lot of the energy, criticism that’s been happening, it’s not coming from a large chunk of the population," said Ipsos senior vice president Chris Jackson. "It's very much a tail-wagging-the-dog scenario."

  • “Most parents are OK with how their schools handled the pandemic."

By the numbers: Asked how schools in their community had done in terms of balancing health and safety with other priorities since the start of the pandemic, 71% of U.S. adults — and 75% of parents — said schools had done a good job as opposed to a poor job.

  • That's about the same response as when respondents were asked how good a job individuals in their communities had done (72%), slightly higher than the good rating local governments got (68%) and better than their governor (63%).
  • Local businesses got the highest share of "good" ratings on balancing those interests (80%).

There wasn't a great intensity of faith when it came to schools.

  • Just 16% of overall respondents said schools had done a "very good" job, while 55% said schools had done a "somewhat good" job; 19% said schools did a "somewhat poor" job while 8% said schools had done a "very poor" job.
  • There was a partisan gap, but it wasn't huge: 68% of Republicans, 71% of independents and 78% of Democrats said schools had done a good job. Just 12% of Republicans, 8% of independents and 4% of Democrats said schools have done a "very poor" job.
  • The biggest opinion break came down to age, with respondents older than 65 the most supportive (78% good) and those under 30 the least supportive (62% good).

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted Nov. 5-8 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,033 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.

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