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Republicans and Democrats differ on … concern about coronavirus

From the “Republicans are from Mars, Democrats are from Venus Department” (including, of course, on questions of science and health), according to an  ABC News/Ipsos poll, Democrats are more than three times as likely than Republicans to say they are “very concerned” about getting the novel coronavirus.

According to the poll:

Although unease over the coronavirus is high, it also strongly breaks along partisan lines. Among Democrats, 83% are concerned about getting coronavirus, including 47% who are very concerned, and among Republicans, 56% are concerned, including only 15% who are very concerned.

“Only 17% of Democrats are not concerned while a larger 44% of Republicans are not concerned.

Comments (27)

  1. Submitted by BK Anderson on 03/13/2020 - 03:33 pm.

    Geez, one would think the Covid-19 collapse of the markets alone would register cause for “concern” on the part of Repubs, who are largely indifferent to human suffering, but not retirement plan suffering…

    But looking at these numbers, I think one has to congratulate “conservatism” on the triumph of both extreme partisanship and rightwing bubble media consumption. There truly is no longer any common ground between the American right and the rest of the citizenry.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/13/2020 - 03:41 pm.

    Well, the “R’s” have never been strong on proactive, only reactive and then blame the lefties, or generate another conspiracy theory. We all know, “Rs” are only responsible for the good stuff and lefties the bad stuff, nothing new here folks move along. .

  3. Submitted by Mike Chrun on 03/13/2020 - 03:54 pm.

    You can trace a direct path back to at least Newt Gingrich and a “win at all costs” mentality against the left and, by extension, government. There’s a very profitable so-called news organization that has made itself and its personalities very wealthy by fostering the battle. Add the toxic mix of narcissism, insecurity, arrogance, and indifference to suffering that is Trump and it’s no wonder there is this dramatic split.

  4. Submitted by Brian Simon on 03/13/2020 - 04:09 pm.

    The poll doesn’t tell us much, it aeems to me. It would be more interesting to know the “why.” Is it due to different sources of info (per some comments); or due to other personality traits?

    Frankly, it’s the opposite of what I’d expect; given that Repubs skew older, which is also the most at-risk demographic (after the immuno-compromised).

    • Submitted by Roy Everson on 03/13/2020 - 05:28 pm.

      There might be a clue in the common use within the RW bubble of “Wuhan virus” or “Chinese virus” . That is, it’s a “foreign” invader which will naturally be foiled by the superior, newly made great again America.

    • Submitted by LK WOODRUFF on 03/14/2020 - 09:02 am.

      The older ones have been subjected to years of daily onslaught planned purposeful propaganda. Plus they grew up w elders who could never admit they ‘lost the war’. And many have never traveled. The younger ones have left and experienced the big city and perhaps even done some foreign travel. They have more opportunities and make more money. They get their information online. They are seeing the light. But then there’s the religious, esp the Evangelicals, and they think it’s ok to destroy the world cuz: an Apocalypse is gonna occur and make everything good again. (I kid you not.) It’s bizarre beliefs and it’s very unhealthy behavior. It’s all deeply entrenched and beyond difficult to understand and deal with because despite it all Southerners are also very polite and pleasant. It feels schizophrenic living among them. The culture shock hits a person smack bn the eyes daily.

  5. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/13/2020 - 04:49 pm.

    From an admittedly liberal source, characterizing the Trump administration’s response to the spread of COVID-19:

    “Despite its grip on power, the conservative movement cannot adapt to the circumstances created by its victory over the state. It didn’t occur to the right that a more terrifying series of words than ’I’m from the government, and I’m here to help’ would turn out to be ’I’m from the government, and I guess I anticipated that the private sector would have engaged.’”

  6. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 03/14/2020 - 09:37 am.

    One of the reasons the so many seniors died of influenza and pneumonia is people who reject simple preventive methods such as vaccination, because the primary benefit is protecting populations from harm. There seems to be very little “what is in it for me” benefits. Other countries’ culture and values give more better support doing things “for the greater good.”

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/18/2020 - 03:39 pm.

      But the main reason that disease mortality increases with age is that the immune system weakens as we age, starting in the 30’s and more pronounced after 60.

  7. Submitted by Rich Crose on 03/14/2020 - 10:48 am.

    “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” –Donald Trump

    That scares me.

  8. Submitted by Howard Miller on 03/14/2020 - 11:16 am.

    Biological reality has a way of bursting through ideological bubbles
    based on partisan hopes rather than science grounded in reality

    Americans need re-education in what ‘herd immunity’ means, beyond this coronavirus scare. Too many anti-vax folks around, harming themselves and vulnerable others

    Meanwhile, increase social distance! Become a clean fiend!

  9. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 03/14/2020 - 11:39 am.

    Probably if this had been during Obama’s Administration, those numbers would be flipped.

    Interestingly, no one is pointing put that the Federal Reserve has been injecting emergency funds into the bank’s REPO market, since September, to the tune of $100 billion A DAY. Their balance sheet has increased about 100 billion a month, which is more than during the Quantitative Easing (QE) period 2011-2014. All was not well with the markets before this, notwithstanding the stock market highs and the mostly shallow and phony unemployment numbers.

    After 2008, when they bailed out the bankers and gave them the keys to the kingdom, those of us paying attention were saying, they are just putting bandaids on a broken system, if they don’t fix the underlying structural problems the next one will be worse.

    Well, they floated the markets longer than I thought they could.

  10. Submitted by Barry Peterson on 03/14/2020 - 01:11 pm.

    I’m no longer fascinated by comments which denigrate members or voters of either party. The press has been putting people into categories and thereby aiding in the manifestation of people from one persuasion going into one camp of ‘thinkers’ and ‘actors’ and people of the other persuasion going into another camp. I believe this is true, and I believe this had the effect of ‘corralling’ members of Congress into two extreme camps during the impeachment proceedings.

    The thought that “Republicans” are less inclined to be concerned about COVID-19 and “Democrats” being more concerned is something of which I am wary of believing.

    Are the Democrats the ones hoarding the toilet paper and disinfectant sprays and the Republicans looking on. I doubt it, and I wonder where ABC News did its polling.

    Traditionally, I have voted Democratic because I am a strong believer in public education and some of the human services programs which Democrats have supported over the decades. Having lived among a wide body of people from many races and international cultures, I have stood by the Democrats for their interest in bringing about a lessened degree of racism — which Republican business owners need to have strong cohesion and peace among the ranks of their employees and consumers.

    As one who has voted as a Democrat for forty years, I am not concerned about getting COVID-19 and dying, because I am a healthy man and know that by getting rest and covering my mouth and nose when I sneeze or cough, I will not spread the disease. I know enough to stay at least three feet from others and to avoid people who are sick. Moreover, I will not know that I have died, and my family will go on without my presence and others will take over in areas that I have left for them.

    If the polls are correct, I encourage Democrats to be less concerned and be more practical in the way they think and act. I also encourage others to be more concerned for the human effects of the virus, as with all other viruses which sicken and often enough lead to the deaths of loved ones, neighbors, employees, and co-workers.

    As for ‘problems’ with the stock market: pundits have been talking about how a ‘correction’ was something they’d been wondering about for some time. A rush to sell by people who either do not know much about economic realities in the U.S. and began to create a stampede of sellers who look only at the percentage the market fell, not at the actual reality of their own companies’ in this market. Some may have realized that by getting on the bandwagon of sellers, they would secure their gains and be able to buy again when the market reached a low.

    Flu season is hitting its stride right now in the US. So far, the CDC has estimated (based on weekly influenza surveillance data) that at least 12,000 people have died from influenza between Oct. 1, 2019 through Feb. 1, 2020, and the number of deaths may be as high as 30,000.Feb 11, 2020 (

    This is mind, are we really going to continue to fear COVID-19 because it is dramatic, or because it is something new that we haven’t heard of and because we know it came from China? Most of the people dying from COVID-19 are elderly and have been sick. Let’s please put our thinking-caps on and get some common sense about this virus.

    An interesting and still current article on the flu may be of interest to people who do not concern themselves with the common flu. Please review:

    Let us use our brains and have some poise and grace when we act in the commercial space: do not hoard. Take what you need for two weeks when you shop, and leave the rest for other shoppers. Personally, I buy a 12-pack of toilet paper every couple of months as a single adult and do not have to worry about running out. I encourage all of us to use common sense and to think about others, as well.

    Here are some tips to help avoid getting “a” coronavirus, such as the flu, a cold, an even COVID-19:

    I will close by saying that I have friends in China who are doing quite well with the precautions the Chinese government and major businesses have enacted. One friend lives in the city of Shenzhen, a city of eleven million people. The actions that our governments in the U.S. are now beginning to take to keep schools closed and people safe have been in place in China for a couple of months, now, and the virus appears to have been plateauing in terms of new cases; and the death toll has been going down.

    That’s all for now. I wish everyone peace and good health!

    **News just in as I was finishing up: President Trump was tested for the virus. The tests should be back a few days from Friday, March 13, 2020.

    • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 03/14/2020 - 10:32 pm.

      I have made some revisions to my paragraph on the stock market during the COVID-19 period of early 2020. They are not much, but I would like to have the entire paragraph published or kept on file with this edition of

      Here is the entire paragraph with the revision:

      “As for ‘problems’ with the stock market: pundits have been talking about how a ‘correction’ was something they’d been wondering about for some time. A rush to sell by people who either do not know much about economic realities in the U.S. or who began to create a stampede of sellers who look only at the percentage the market fell, not at the actual reality of their own companies’ in this market will correct the market in time, and many people will prosper from getting in at a relative low in the market. Some may have realized that by getting on the bandwagon of sellers, they would secure their gains and be able to buy again when the market reached a low.”

      Please note that I am an amateur follower of the stock market. I read essays by various editors at

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/16/2020 - 11:41 am.

      Sorry Barry, near every right winger that I know and exchange with has said in one way or another, either the C-Virus is a hoax or its is way over blown, or created in concert between the Chinese, Democrats and mass media to oust Trump, specifically because he is such a great negotiator, so great that China would tank their entire economy rather than negotiate! The left leaning have almost to a T suggested it is something to take note of and appropriate actions and precautions. Try poking around on a couple far right wing conservative sites. Be forewarned, it is “very” ugly reading.

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/17/2020 - 01:26 pm.

      My admittedly anecdotal evidence is that the suburban Target I visited on Friday was being stripped bare of paper products, soaps, hand sanitizers, cleaning supplies, ground beef, and, of all things, bottled water, as if the low-information types thought that the public water supply would stop running.

      The following day, I visited the Linden Hills Co-op, the kind of place that hardcore right-wingers like to make fun of. Flour and rice were practically gone, although as one friend noted, the Co-op had coincidentally scheduled a sale on bulk purchases for that week, and supplies of eggs were at half the usual level, but everything else was readily available.

      As one of the consistent lefties in the MinnPost comments, I believed reports coming out of China and knew that any respiratory virus common in China will eventually reach these shores. The reports out of Italy were also concerning.

      I wasn’t anticipating a pandemic, but I knew there was a possibility that I would get sick and be unable to leave home, so I gradually stocked up on vital supplies over the past month, buying an extra item or two with each trip to the store. No need for panic buying.

  11. Submitted by Cathy Montain on 03/14/2020 - 02:38 pm.

    It would be interesting to know who is buying up all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer? Only Democrats?

  12. Submitted by Tom Crain on 03/15/2020 - 03:53 pm.

    “ are we really going to continue to fear COVID-19 because it is dramatic, or because it is something new that we haven’t heard of.. “

    Yes, a healthy fear is advisable, especially because it is new and we don’t know enough about it yet. The article you cite states “The concern is justified, as more than 1,000 people in mainland China have died from the virus—a larger number than those who died from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic.“. Unlike China, the US cannot quarantine 60M people to slow the epidemic. Our experience may be more like Italy’s.

    This comparison of COVID to the flu has some important differences. Mostly that it appears to be more easily transmitted and that we have no vaccine for it like we do for the flu and won’t for at least a year, probably longer. Also it appears to be more aggressive and deadly.

    From Johns Hopkins

    “The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly. Since this disease is caused by a new virus, people do not have immunity to it, and a vaccine may be many months away. Doctors and scientists are working on estimating the mortality rate of COVID-19, but at present, it is thought to be higher than that of most strains of the flu.”

  13. Submitted by Tim Smith on 03/16/2020 - 08:48 am.

    does it really surprise anyone that dems are so “concerned”?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/16/2020 - 10:42 am.

      Because Democrats believe in science, and in following the advice of experts rather than paying heed to the rantings of a narcissistic halfwit? Sure, I’ll go with that.

  14. Submitted by Dave Paulson on 03/18/2020 - 02:16 pm.

    A frightening thought, but now 3 years old is a GOP strategist’s characterization of hard core trump support as a cult, one whose members have surrendered their intellectual sovereignty of making their own decisions about reality. Now they are told what to think, and so they do. Fox, Breitbart, trump have all stood against both common sense and the evidence. proclaiming this is another hoax due to exaggeration of concern.

    Its not just the new science that is there. The evidence of both recent events and historic precedent is indisputable. But because the Man Who Would be King has stood in front of our current experts and contradicted them – and the reality we all see – they choose to believe him.

    MinnPost commenters are much more educated and careful than most online posters, but even here there one sees the underlying rational that COVID-19 is exaggerated, AND the proof is the info comes to them through “the MSM” and is probably endorsed by “The Left.”
    So if one can say that, then one need not waste their time looking at, and critically thinking about the evidence. Don’t even need to present countering evidence. Its less in evidence but I still see it.

    Russian interference, climate change, endorsing autocrats, selling favors to businesses, even the growing National Debt can all be ignored. So consequences of a novel virus epidemic will not be as bad as the Administration experts tell us – that is until trump – through what will undoubtedly be hailed as breakthrough leadership, changes his tune.

    1984 is arriving 35 years after predicted.

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/19/2020 - 09:28 am.

    I agree with Republicans. They should ignore the recommendations. In fact, if I was them I’d have another CPAC convention as soon as possible for all of those who missed the last one. Just kidding.

    • Submitted by Dave Paulson on 03/19/2020 - 12:02 pm.

      Kidding? what’s wrong with asking for personal responsibility- they should meet up, shake hands a lot, huddle up and walk their talk. Just think how powerful their message will be if and when they are proven right: “Told ya so- its no big deal.”

      Be doing science an favor – more data.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/20/2020 - 08:49 am.

        Well, infection can have fatal consequences. As toxic and dangerous as I think some of these people are, I’m not quite to the point where I’ll wish death upon them. I’m willing to let fate have it’s day without my karmic influence for the time being.

  16. Submitted by Gretchen Roberts on 03/20/2020 - 06:18 pm.

    articles like this are divisive and do more harm than good. stereotyping people into groups just leads to division.

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