As the world continues to cope with the recent spread of the Coronavirus and the social and economic turmoil it has brought, we seem unable to think about anything else. From turning on the news to the casual conversations you have with people you see on your morning walk around the block, COVID-19 has permeated itself into every part of our daily life. Even life at a boutique market research firm like OH Predictive Insights (OHPI) has been upended. However, while our employees may be working from home, we here at OHPI are continuing to do what we do best: Election polling and market research.
Over the past month, OHPI has conducted two separate surveys of Arizonans to get a snapshot of the state’s perception of the Coronavirus. The first poll was conducted in late March, just as businesses in the state were beginning to shut down and before Arizona Governor Doug Ducey issued his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” order. It gauged the opinions of 1,000 Arizonans who were representative of the general population. The second poll was conducted a week later and focused solely on Arizonans who were likely to vote in the upcoming 2020 election. Looking at the difference between the two polls provides some interesting insights.
First of all, both questions asked their respective samples how they felt government leaders and agencies were responding to the outbreak. (Note: the general population was asked how “confident” they were in the job individual/organization while the likely voters (LVs) were asked how much they “approved” of the job the individual/organization was doing.) Across both groups, respondents were more confident/approving of the jobs the nonpartisan health organization Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) were doing compared to those of elected officials President Trump and Governor Ducey.
Arizona’s general population and its likely voter population see these government leaders and organizations in roughly a similar light, however, the biggest difference between the two groups is the share of those who have an opinion. Among the general population of Arizonans, anywhere from 14 percent to 30 percent do not have an opinion one way or the other on the job a given person was doing when asked. For likely voters – who one would presume to pay more attention to the news and politics and thus have more information to form an opinion – that number ranges from 4 percent to 6 percent for most with the only exception being the Arizona Department of Health Services (23 percent of likely voters are unsure if they approve of the job AZDHS is doing).
In summary, when asking about public policy or political issues likely voters are much more likely to have formed an opinion compared to the general population who is less engaged in the public policy discussion.
The topic where there was the biggest difference between the general population and those who are likely to vote in 2020 is what the Coronavirus issue will look like in 30 days – whether the situation will improve or get worse over the next month. Broadly speaking, likely voters are much more optimistic about the future of Arizona’s fight against COVID-19 than the general population. Almost two-thirds of all Arizonans think that the outbreak will get worse in the next 30 days, whereas only 43 percent of likely voters say the same.
It is important to take into consideration the dates that these surveys were taken when interpreting these numbers. For instance, the poll of the general population was asked in the time before Arizona’s stay-at-home order was put into effect, and businesses were closing of their own accord. Compare this to the dates when the likely voters were being polled, when news that the projected number of deaths and strain on the health care system would be less than previously expected was starting to make its way into the news cycle. What is not known, however, is if we would have seen similar numbers among the general population if they had been surveyed at the same time.
With that being said, the upcoming month will provide us with valuable information when it comes to Arizona election polling and market research. Luckily for you, OHPI will continue to publish its monthly surveys and will keep you up-to-date with the latest data and insights when it comes to anything happening in Arizona!