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Data: KFF analysis of AP VoteCast, a survey of the American electorate conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago (conducted Oct. 27-Nov. 3). ; Table: Axios Visuals

People who voted for President Trump didn't see the coronavirus as an urgent problem, according to exit polls, but President-elect Joe Biden's voters overwhelmingly did.

Why it matters: The Biden administration will face a massive public education challenge as it tries to get the whole country to treat the virus as a serious threat and, when the time comes, to get vaccinated.

By the numbers: About 60% of Biden voters, across every demographic group, said COVID-19 was a top issue, compared to barely more than 20% of Trump voters.

What’s next: It will be exceedingly difficult to get a handle on the pandemic as long as half the adult population — the folks who followed Trump — don't see it as a major issue.

  • People who don’t believe COVID-19 is a serious threat may also feel less compelled to get a vaccine.

Between the lines: Over decades of messaging about HIV testing and treatment in our Greater Than AIDS program, we have learned that there is no one-size-fits-all message.

  • Messages need to be targeted to be effective.
  • That means heavy use of digital media, not PSAs on television.
  • And messengers have to be credible, not just famous. An important challenge is to emphasize disproportionate impact on people of color without furthering stigma or marginalization.

The bottom line: In exit polls, far more Trump voters said they were motivated by the economy than by the pandemic. Part of Biden's challenge will be to persuade those voters that getting a handle on COVID-19 is the route to a stronger economy.

Go deeper.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions — Exclusive: Teenagers' mental health claims doubled last spring.
  2. Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans' hopes rise after a year of COVID
  3. Vaccine: J&J CEO "absolutely" confident in vaccine distribution goals — Vaccine hesitancy is shrinking.
  4. World: China and Russia vaccinate the world, for now.
  5. Energy: Global carbon emissions rebound to pre-COVID levels.
  6. Local: Florida gets more good vaccine newsMinnesota's hunger problem grows amid pandemic — Denver's fitness industry eyes a pandemic recovery.
Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.