Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Rural Americans just as worried about pandemic as national average, according to new poll

Early on in the pandemic, rural Americans as a whole tended to be more skeptical about the coronavirus pandemic than their urban and suburban counterparts, a difference driven mostly by political ideology. But a new nationwide online poll shows that most rural residents are taking the pandemic seriously these days, Tim Marema reports for The Daily Yonder. The poll was conducted from April 24-26 by Civis Analytics and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

According to the poll, nearly 90 percent of rural respondents said they will probably continue social distancing and other precautions even when their state begins to lift mandatory restrictions. "About three-quarters of rural respondents said they are somewhat or very concerned about the coronavirus," Marema reports. "The response from rural participants was slightly lower than the national response. But the 3-point gap is within the poll’s margin of error, meaning the rural and national responses are statistically indistinguishable."

Other results from the poll:
  • About half of rural respondents, about the same as the nationwide average, agreed that their state has taken appropriate action to contain the pandemic.
  • Only 5-6% of rural and national respondents said the government has overreacted to the pandemic.
  • About three-quarters of rural and national respondents said they've avoided crowds and public spaces during the pandemic.
  • About two-thirds of rural and national respondents said they're committed to social distancing.
  • Rural attitudes toward the pandemic varied by region: rural Southerners were more likely to wish their states were doing more to control the pandemic than rural Northeasterners.
  • About one-third of rural respondents said they're very unlikely to lose their job because of the pandemic, compared to about one-quarter of national respondents.
  • About one-quarter of rural people of color said they were unlikely to lose their job because of the pandemic, compared to more than half of rural whites. 
  • Rural and national respondents reported similar levels of trust in information sources except when it came to info provided by President Trump or Vice President Pence. Nationwide, 45.4% of respondents said they trust info from the president or vice president, compared to more than 55% of rural respondents.

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