Sep 13, 2022 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Roll credits on the pandemic

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart:Simran Parwani/Axios

Two and a half years into the pandemic, Americans say they’re doing well in most aspects of their lives — except possibly their personal finances, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: Many of us appear ready to roll the credits on the pandemic, despite lingering political divisions over the response and some residual distrust of government and some health institutions.

  • The public’s perception of personal risk also is at a low point, and people are starting to pick and choose more where they deem it necessary to take precautions like masking.

Between the lines: While there haven’t been significant behavioral shifts since last spring, there’s been an across-the-board improvement in the public’s mood.

  • Overwhelming majorities say they had very or somewhat good physical health (83%), mental health (85%), emotional well-being (84%) and home life (90%).
  • But only 78% reported having very or somewhat good personal finances.
  • The results may bode well for Democrats who are wary of discussing COVID or reminding people there’s still a health threat in the run-up to the midterms.
  • But it could also make it difficult for the Biden administration to spark interest in getting reformulated booster shots.

What they’re saying: “Most Americans have turned the page on the COVID pandemic, even as most acknowledge the virus is likely to be with us for the long term," said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs.

  • "While interest in easy preventatives, like the new Omicron-specific booster, remains high, most people are taking COVID risks in stride."
  • That doesn't mean most Americans think we're done with the pandemic: 65% disagreed that it's over, while just 33% agreed.
  • The poll found that 60% plan to get the new booster by the end of the year and another 7% say they'll get it next year, with 32% not sure.

The intrigue: While the majority of Americans may not be focused on the course of the pandemic, they've increasingly developed a hierarchy of when it's appropriate to wear a mask.

  • 48% say they always or sometimes mask up on airplanes, and 39% do on trains, buses, taxis or in rideshares.
  • Only about a quarter will when outdoors in crowded spaces, in small indoor gatherings or walking into a restaurant to dine indoors.

The public also continues to grapple with what the pandemic has meant on an individual and broader societal level.

  • 73% strongly or somewhat agree with the statement that pandemic-related shutdowns were needed to save lives, but 51% say they also caused unnecessary damage to the economy.
  • 88% say COVID has changed Americans' lives forever, though 82% say we're in a better place today than a year ago.

The big picture: While the COVID response isn't the political lightning rod it was even a year ago, some institutions have emerged with diminished public trust.

  • For example, 62% say they have a great deal or a fair amount of trust in the Centers for Disease Control to provide accurate information, compared to 84% when Axios and Ipsos began polling on the crisis in March 2020.
  • And though President Biden's trust numbers have inched up in recent months, 53% say they still don't trust him at all or very much to provide accurate information about COVID-19.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted Sept. 9-12 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,158 adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.
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