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Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Table: Axios Visuals

More Americans have chosen to save their CARES Act direct payment checks than spend them, even to catch up on bills or purchase household needs, the latest results of the Axios/Ipsos poll show.

What's happening: Despite nearly 20% saying they had been furloughed, laid off or otherwise separated from their job, the most popular answer among survey respondents was to sock their money away, with 38% saying they put it into savings.

Why it matters: Economists have worried that one major effect of the coronavirus pandemic could be that Americans become more conscious of their savings and cut back on spending.

  • While few were expected to spend their checks on discretionary purchases like TVs or vacations, given nationwide lockdown orders, the particularly high rate of savings could signal a shift.

Between the lines: While around a third of respondents from all racial, age and income groups chose savings, it was not the top choice for Black or Hispanic respondents or those making less than $50,000 a year.

By the numbers: Black respondents' top choice — 49% compared to 26% of all those surveyed — was to pay off debt, while more Hispanics planned to pay for food and basic household needs (40% vs 25%), as did respondents earning less than $50,000 (35%).

  • White respondents were the most likely to be uncertain what they would do with the money, with 21% saying they had not spent it yet but planned to.
  • That compared to 16% of Black folks and 5% of Hispanics.

Of note: Respondents were permitted to choose more than one option.

Go deeper

Coronavirus hotspots begin to improve

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections are falling or holding steady in most of the country, including the hard-hit hotspots of Arizona, California and Florida.

The big picture: A decline in new infections is always good news, but don't be fooled: the U.S. still has a very long way to go to recover from this summer's surge.

GOP senator says stimulus needs to be as "narrowly focused" on COVID-19 as possible

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said at an Axios virtual event Wednesday that the next coronavirus relief package needs to be as "narrowly focused" on COVID-specific issues as possible in order to resolve the differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Why it matters: Democrats and negotiators from the Trump administration remain far apart on a deal for the next tranche of relief. The fraught negotiations come as millions of Americans continue to suffer from the health and economic effects of the pandemic without the unemployment benefits from the first stimulus bill.

GOP Rep. Rodney Davis tests positive for coronavirus

Rep. Rodney Davis. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) announced on Wednesday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Davis, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, said he has taken precautions against the virus, such as twice-daily temperature checks. He spoke to Republicans about staying safe after Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) recently tested positive for the virus and spoke out against wearing face masks, Politico notes.