HKS Feature: Tracking attitudes and behavior on COVID in all 50 states, week by week

HKS Feature: Tracking attitudes and behavior on COVID in all 50 states, week by week

March 4, 2021

The Harvard Kennedy School did a comprehensive write up about Professor Matthew Baum’s COVID States survey project, one of the longest-running and farthest-reaching surveys on U.S. public attitudes about the COVID-19 pandemic and related issues.

Read an excerpt below:


The numbered reports are issued soon after the field work, so the information is nearly current for policymakers as they try to make judgments about issues such as school and business reopenings. President Biden’s transition team drew on some of the reports when it was shaping approaches to vaccine communication strategies.

Baum said that among the key contributions was documenting the extensive public support, across party lines, for some of the lockdown measures at a time when much of the media coverage suggested far more partisan division. 

“We had really timely information on the way citizens were responding to governors who were or were not taking proactive pandemic mitigation measures,” Baum said. “This provided supportive evidence for leaders who wanted to implement aggressive policy measures to counter the pandemic. We were able to discern nuances in public opinion that nobody else was able to show in such detail—that across parties, across ideologies, across all the states, there was much more support among the population than was reflected in the popular discourse,” Baum said. 


Read the full article on the Harvard Kennedy School website.