HPU Poll: N.C. Registered Voters See Coronavirus as Major Threat to State, U.S. and World Economies

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HIGH POINT, N.C., July 27, 2020 – A new High Point University Poll finds large majorities of North Carolina registered voters see the coronavirus as a major threat to the U.S. economy (79%), the world economy (79%), the North Carolina economy (75%) and the health of the U.S. population (62%). Only a little over one-third of these registered voters said the coronavirus is a major threat to their personal health (37%) and to their personal financial situation (35%).

When asked how much of a risk to their health and well-being certain activities are right now, the majority of registered voters in North Carolina said attending a sporting event (76%), dining in at a restaurant (66%), taking a vacation (61%), shopping at retail stores (61%), going to salons, barber shops, or spas (58%), going to the grocery store (56%), and attending in-person gatherings of friends and family outside your household (53%) were either a large or moderate risk.

Activities that majorities of these same registered voters say are a small risk or no risk include having food delivered to your home (72%) and picking up take out from a restaurant (65%). Registered voters in North Carolina were nearly split on whether or not returning to their normal place of employment was a large or moderate risk (39%) or a small or no risk (44%).

The actions that the majority of registered voters feel are effective in keeping them safe from the coronavirus include washing your hands with soap or using hand sanitizer frequently (87%), avoiding contact with people who could be high-risk (81%), avoiding public spaces, gatherings, and crowds (65%), avoiding airplanes (63%), avoiding hospitals and clinics (59%), seeing a doctor if you feel sick (57%), wearing a face mask (54%), and praying (50%). And just under half of those responding said avoiding restaurants (46%) and seeing a doctor if you feel healthy but worry that you were exposed (38%) were also very effective actions to keep them safe from the virus.

The HPU Poll also asked registered voters how much they trust a variety of sources of information about the coronavirus. The majority said they trusted their physician (65%) a lot. Other sources of information that respondents trust a lot were the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (48%), local public health officials such as officials from their county health department (41%), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (36%), the World Health Organization (36%), and their close friends and members of their family (25%).

Registered voters also indicated there were several sources they don’t trust at all including contacts on social media (49%), national newspapers such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today (39%), national news networks like Fox News, CNN, or MSNBC (35%), coworkers, classmates, or other acquaintances (34%), their local newspaper (31%), their local TV news (28%) and public television and radio (27%).

“Registered voters in North Carolina expressed in the most recent HPU Poll that washing their hands with soap or using sanitizer and avoiding contact with people who could be high-risk are very effective ways at keeping them safe from coronavirus,” says Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct instructor. “Our poll respondents also said attending a sporting event, dining out, or taking a vacation present the largest risk right now to their health and well-being.”

Registered Voters – Coronavirus Threat (June/July 2020)

How much of a threat, if any, is the Coronavirus outbreak to each of the following?  Would you say a major threat, a minor threat, or not a threat?

  A major threat A minor threat Not a threat (Don’t know/ Refused)
The U.S. economy 79 17 3 2
The world economy 79 16 2 2
The North Carolina economy 75 19 2 3
The health of the U.S. population 62 30 6 2
Your personal health 37 38 25 1
Your personal financial situation 35 33 32 1

(North Carolina registered voter telephone sample, surveyed June 15 – July 2 and July 5 – July 17, 2020, n = 422 and margin of sampling error is +/- 6.2 percent)

Registered Voters – Coronavirus Risk (June/July 2020)

How much of a risk to your health and well-being do you think the following activities are right now? For each of the following, please tell me if they are a large risk, moderate risk, small risk, no risk.

  Large risk Moderate risk Small risk No risk (Don’t know/ Refused)
Attending a sporting event 59 17 14 8 3
Dining in at a restaurant 38 28 21 10 3
Taking a vacation 38 23 24 10 5
Going to salons, barber shops, or spas 32 26 28 12 2
Attending in-person gatherings of friends and family outside your household 25 28 31 14 2
Shopping at retail stores 23 38 26 11 2
Going to the grocery store 17 39 30 13 1
Returning to your normal place of employment 17 22 20 24 17
Having food delivered to your home 7 18 46 26 4
Picking up take out from a restaurant 7 26 45 20 3

(North Carolina registered voter telephone sample, surveyed June 15 – July 2 and July 5 – July 17, 2020, n = 422 and margin of sampling error is +/- 6.2 percent)

Registered Voters – Coronavirus Actions (June/July 2020)

How effective are the following actions for keeping you safe from coronavirus? Would you say very effective, somewhat effective, not very effective, not at all effective? 

  Very effective Somewhat effective Not very effective Not at all effective (Don’t know/ Refused)
Washing your hands with soap or using hand sanitizer frequently 87 9 2 2 1
Avoiding contact with people who could be high-risk 81 11 2 3 3
Avoiding public spaces, gatherings, and crowds 65 20 6 7 2
Avoiding airplanes 63 19 5 8 5
Avoiding hospitals and clinics 59 25 7 7 2
Seeing a doctor if you feel sick 57 26 8 7 3
Wearing a face mask 54 24 7 13 2
Praying 50 12 9 24 4
Avoiding restaurants 46 26 16 11 2
Seeing a doctor if you feel healthy but worry that you were exposed 38 28 13 17 4

(North Carolina registered voter telephone sample, surveyed June 15 – July 2 and July 5 – July 17, 2020, n = 422 and margin of sampling error is +/- 6.2 percent)

Registered Voters – Coronavirus Actions (June/July 2020)

How much do you trust the following sources of information about the coronavirus? Would you say a lot, somewhat, a little, or not at all?

  A lot Somewhat A little Not at all (Don’t know/ Refused)
Your physician 65 23 5 4 3
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 48 26 10 13 3
Local public health officials such as officials from your county health department 41 32 10 12 5
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 36 30 15 16 3
The World Health Organization (WHO) 36 27 10 24 4
Your close friends and members of your family 25 34 19 20 2
Public television and radio 19 34 16 27 4
Your local TV news 18 33 16 28 5
National newspapers such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today 16 25 14 39 6
National news networks like Fox News, CNN, or MSNBC 14 29 17 35 5
Your local newspaper 14 29 16 31 10
Your coworkers, classmates, or other acquaintances 7 29 23 34 7
Your contacts on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) 6 17 21 49 8

(North Carolina registered voter telephone sample, surveyed June 15 – July 2 and July 5 – July 17, 2020, n = 422 and margin of sampling error is +/- 6.2 percent)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers working remotely through the High Point University Survey Research Center, calling June 15 – July 2 and July 5 – July 17, 2020. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 422 registered voters interviewed on landline or cellular telephones. The Survey Research Center drew this sample from the voter file made public by the North Carolina State Board of Elections (https://www.ncsbe.gov/Public-Records-Data-Info/Election-Results-Data). The survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 4.8 percentage points for registered voter respondents. Taking into account a design effect as a result of weighting, the adjusted margin of error is 6.2 percentage points. The data is weighted toward population (NC registered voters) estimates for age, gender, and race/ethnicity based on the parameters of the full voter file at the North Carolina State Board of Elections as well as education level based on US Census estimates. Factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls. Details from this survey are available at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/files/2020/07/72memoA.pdf

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/. The materials online include past press releases as well as memos summarizing the findings (including approval ratings) for each poll since 2010.

The HPU Poll reports methodological details in accordance with the standards set out by AAPOR’s Transparency Initiative, and the HPU Survey Research Center is a Charter Member of the Initiative. For more information, see http://transparency.aapor.org/index.php/transparency.

You can follow the HPU Poll on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HPUSurveyCenter.

Dr. Martin Kifer, chair and associate professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Brian McDonald is the associate director of the HPU Poll.

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