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SLU/YouGov Poll: Partisan Divide Over COVID-19 and In-Person School

07/16/2020Media Inquiries

Maggie Rotermund
Senior Media Relations Specialist
maggie.rotermund@slu.edu
314-977-8018

Reserved for members of the media.

A new Saint Louis University/YouGov Poll finds 51% of likely Missouri voters disapprove of how President Donald Trump has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. Likely voters are evenly divided on how Governor Mike Parson has handled the pandemic with 48% saying they approve and 47% saying they disapprove.

Nearly two-thirds of likely voters approve of how their local government leaders have handled the pandemic.

Voters’ responses to the pandemic were heavily divided along party lines. Among Republican voters, 91% said they at least approve of Trump’s handling of the pandemic with 51% saying they Strongly Approve. Democrats had a 95% disapproval rating, with 87% saying they Strongly Disapprove of the President’s handling of the pandemic.

Seventy-five percent of Republican voters approve of the Governor’s handling the pandemic, while only 16% of Democrats approve. Support for local government officials cut across party lines, as voters from both major parties expressed high approval ratings for local officials.

One of the most obvious impacts of the pandemic on everyday life has been in schools, which shifted to virtual instruction for the remainder of the school year. Sixty-five percent of Missouri voters approved of the way their school district handled the pandemic and only 14% disapproved. This support was even stronger among poll respondents who stated they have children, with 72% approving of their school district’s handling the pandemic.

Fifty-nine percent of voters agree with having face-to-face instruction in the fall.

“While voters—especially parent voters—support how school leaders responded to COVID, many are ready for a return to normal. But, there is a clear partisan divide over the issue,” said Evan Rhinesmith, Ph.D., associate director of the SLU/YouGov Poll. “Seventy-nine percent of Republicans agreed with returning to school, while only 38% of Democrats agreed. Among respondents with school-age children, 58% said they implemented some sort of homeschooling because of the pandemic.”

“In addition to disrupting children’s education, the COVID-19 crisis impacted individuals seeking health care,” said Steven Rogers, Ph.D., director of the SLU/YouGov poll. “Forty-nine percent of respondents to the SLU/YouGov poll agreed with the statement “I have postponed going to the doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Younger voters were the most likely to agree with the statement with 57% of voters who were 18 – 29 years old indicating they have postponed going to the doctor. Forty percent of voters who were above 65 years old postponed seeing the doctor.

YouGov interviewed 900 Missouri likely voters between June 23, 2020, and July 1, 2020. The YouGov panel, a proprietary opt-in survey panel, is comprised of 1.2 million U.S. residents who have agreed to participate in YouGov. Using their gender, age, race, and education, YouGov weighted the set of survey respondents to known characteristics of registered voters of Missouri voters from the 2018 Current Population survey. The margin of error for the weighted data is 3.95%. The SLU/YouGov poll is funded by the Saint Louis University Research Institute.

About YouGov

Saint Louis University has partnered with YouGov to conduct its annual survey of Missourians. YouGov conducts surveys for multiple academic institutions and is the primary, trusted survey firm for media organizations, including CBS News and The Economist. An independent Pew Research Center study of online survey firms in 2016 further concluded YouGov “consistently outperforms competitors.”

About Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers nearly 13,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.