Today DHM Research released the results of an online survey of 507 Oregonians aged 18+.
Download COVID Survey--Annotated--March 2020
Not surprisingly, it found that people are anxious about the coronavirus, worried about their financial situation, feel that things will get worse for at least another month, disapprove of how Trump is handling the federal response, and approve of how Governor Brown is handling the state response.
But as you can read below in the summary of findings that I copied from the survey report, there's some surprises. Young people say they're more concerned about the coronavirus than people 65+. But maybe this has more to do with the impact on jobs rather than health.
Here's the key conclusions of the survey. I've highlighted in red some findings that struck me as particularly interesting.
Many Oregonians are feeling anxious during this unprecedented public health crisis.
The survey started by asking a standardized index of questions that access generalized anxiety disorder (GAD-7). 19% of Oregonians have moderate-to-severe levels of anxiety and 12% have severe levels.
Anxiety levels vary by demographics and attitudes about coronavirus. Young people, those with lower income and less education are especially anxious. Anxiety levels are also higher among people worried that they will be infected with coronavirus and feel that their household is not prepared. It is impossible to say if these concerns are the cause of anxiety (or anxiety causes these concerns) but the connection is notable and strong.
Oregon’s “right track” numbers are down slightly.
For decades, DHM has asked Oregonians if the feel the state is headed in the right direction or on the wrong track. In this survey, 40% said it is on the right track, while 41% said it is on the wrong track. The right direction percentage is down only 5-points since DHM last asked in late 2019.
Consistent with past findings, there is a significant partisan divide. 58% of Democrats feel that this state is headed in the right direction compared to 32% of Republicans, and 30% of non-affiliated and other party voters.
There is a large increase in the number of Oregonians worried about their personal financial situation.
DHM has been asking Oregonians since 2011 how worried, or not, they are about their personal financial situation. The percentage who said that they are somewhat or very worried peaked at 69% in 2012. This fell slowly but steadily over the last decade, to a low of 50% in late 2019. Now, 63% say that they are worried. Given the great many people who have already lost their jobs due to coronavirus, the number of Oregonians experiencing financial distress will almost certainly increase.
Lower income Oregonians are the most worried. 73% of those with incomes below $50k are worried compared to 60% of those with incomes between $50-100k and 45% of people with incomes above $100k.
Most Oregonians are worried that they or someone close to them will be infected with coronavirus.
69% a family member not in the household
60% a household member
57% a close friend
53% you personally
47% someone who relies on you for medical care
40% of Oregonians say that they are not prepared to deal with a coronavirus infection in their household.
While most (59%) say that they are prepared, a significant number of Oregonians are not. The groups most likely to report that they are not prepared are younger with lower incomes. For instance, 46% of Oregonians between ages 18–29 say they are not prepared compared to 30% of those ages 65+. Similarly, 50% of Oregonians with incomes less than $50k are unprepared versus 24% with incomes above $100k.
Many Oregonians expect to need help in the coming days.
41% may need help paying for basics needs like food, medicine and utilities
36% may need help paying for their rent or mortgage
35% may need help getting to the store
29% may need help getting to medical appointments
28% may need help picking up prescription drugs
22% of Oregonians say that the news coverage of coronavirus has been exaggerated, while 24% think that is has been underestimated.
Views on this vary by political party. Just 10% of Democrats feel that the news coverage has been exaggerated compared to 37% of Republicans and 24% of non-affiliated and other party voters.
The vast majority of Oregonians (82%) say that they know where to find credible information about coronavirus.
While a majority of all demographic groups say that they know where to find credible information, younger Oregonians and those with less education are less confident. 69% of Oregonians between the ages 18– 29 report knowing where to find credible information versus 93% of those ages 65+. Likewise, fewer people with a high school degree or less (73%) know where to find credible information compared to 90% of those with a college degree.
Many Oregonians are changing how closely they are following the news, or turning the news off, because of coronavirus.
Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Oregonians say that they have spent more time paying attention to the news to keep up with developments about coronavirus, while 24% have stopped paying attention to the news because of anxiety about it.
Most Oregonians say that they know what key terms, like social distancing, mean. But a consequential minority are unsure.
The survey asked Oregonians if they know what the following terms mean:
Social distancing: 88% yes; 10% maybe; 2% no
Quarantine: 87% yes; 11% maybe; 2% no
Self-isolation: 84% yes; 13% maybe; 3% no
Shelter in place: 76% yes; 19% maybe; 5% no
Young people say that they are more concerned about coronavirus than others.
The survey asked Oregonians if they are concerned more about coronavirus, less or about the same as others in their life. Overall, 20% said that are more concerned, 23% less, and 51% the same. However, 29% of 18-29 years old report having a greater level of concern, while only 11% of those ages 65+ feel that way.
Democrats (22%) also report having more concern than Republicans (11%).
Oregonians believe that problems associated with coronavirus will continue to get worse for at least another month.
The survey asked Oregonians if the problems associated with coronavirus will be better, worse or about the same in one week, one month, six months, 12 months and 18 months.
One week: 12% better; 76% worse
One month: 39% better; 51% worse
Six months: 74% better; 14% worse
12 months: 76% better; 11% worse
18 months: 75% better; 10% worse
President Trump and Governor Brown get mixed reviews for their handling of coronavirus, largely driven by partisan differences.
42% of Oregonians approve of how President Trump has managed coronavirus, while 52% disapprove (and 40% “strongly” disapprove). By party, 78% of Republicans approve of his job performance, while just 12% of Democrats and 45% of non-affiliated and other party voters approve.
A majority (55%) of Oregonians approve of how Governor Brown has managed coronavirus, while 38% disapprove. Opinions about Brown’s job performance are less intense than those of President Trump. Just 18% of Oregonians “strongly” disapprove of her management. By party, 75% of Democrats approve of her job performance versus 31% of Republicans and 52% of non-affiliated and other voters.