New Round of COVID-19 Survey Shows Continued High Support for Policies, Increasing Partisan Divides

The second round of the multi-university project to survey public opinion on COVID-19 response measures in all 50 states was released today. It shows continued high rates of support for state government responses to the crisis, as well as for continued strong measures to keep the pandemic from spreading. The survey was conducted between May 2 – 15, 2020. The earlier round of this survey was conducted between April 17-26th. The results of the first round can be found here.

Download the full report for the second round survey results here.

The survey did show increasing divides in public opinion around re-opening the economy and schools, with Republicans less likely to say they support these measures. However, among republicans support for all prevention measures remains above 66%, and support for measures like canceling sports and entertainment events, and keeping K-12 schools closed, remains above 80% among Republicans and above 90% among Democrats.

The national survey also showed that people continue to trust scientists, doctors, and the CDC far above Congress and the President when it comes to providing accurate recommendations and “doing the right thing” about the pandemic. These do show partisan divides when it comes to Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s approval ratings, but rates of trust in other groups and institutions show smaller divides between Republicans and Democrats.

Finally, in a new question added to the survey for this May round, participants were asked about their opinions on expanding vote by mail options for the November elections. 60% support the idea, with 24% neither supporting or opposing it. Among Democrats the level of support for vote by mail options increases to 81%, while among Republicans opinions are more divided, with 44% in favor and 32% opposed.

The full report of the national results of round 2 of this survey can be found here, or by visiting

Shorenstein Center faculty affiliate Matthew Baum, the Marvin Kalb Professor of Global Communications at Harvard Kennedy School, is a lead author on the study. Other authors include David Lazer (Northeastern), Katherine Ognyanova (Rutgers University), John Della Volpe (Harvard Kennedy School), Roy H. Perlis (Harvard University), James Druckman (Northwestern University), and Mauricio Santillana (Harvard University)

A full report of the May state-by-state results will be published soon.