Poll: Majority of Utahns believe the worst part of the coronavirus pandemic is yet to come

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Most Utahns believe the worst is yet to come in the U.S. from the coronavirus outbreak according to a new survey.

The poll, conducted by Y2 Analytics for UtahPolicy.com and KUTV 2News finds 52 percent of Utahns say the worst from the coronavirus outbreak nationally is yet to come. 29 percent believe the worst is behind us, while 18 percent think the worst from the pandemic is happening now. 

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Since the beginning of the outbreak, there have been more than 2.9 million cases in the U.S. with more than 129,000 resulting deaths. 

In 32 states, the number of infections is rising, while only four states are seeing a decline in the number of cases. 

Several states that rushed to reopen their economies are starting to see a dramatic spike in cases. Both Florida and Texas set single-day records for cases over the weekend, and several mayors in Texas and Florida are warning their hospitals could be out of beds for patients within the next two weeks. 

As with most issues in our polarized political climate, we find a sharp partisan divide on the question, with Republicans feeling more optimistic while independents and Democrats believe conditions will worsen. 

55 percent of “strong” Republicans say the worst of the outbreak is behind us. A majority of moderate Republicans and independents who lean Republican say the worst has passed or is happening now. Solid majorities of true independents and Democrats say the worst part of the pandemic is still coming. 

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Kelly Patterson of Y2 says he’s not surprised we’re seeing such clear partisan division on the question.

“The differences reflect the two worldviews,” he said. “Republicans tend to believe that government administration is less preferable than individual freedom. Democrats tend to believe that government can ameliorate many societal problems.”

“To the extent that much of the current debate over the pandemic revolves around what the proper response of government should be, members of the two parties express different levels of optimism about what will happen in the future,” he added.

Surprisingly, there’s not much of a difference in attitudes between men and women when it comes to the Covid-19 outbreak. 57 percent of women and 51 percent of men surveyed said they believed the effects of the outbreak would get worse. 

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The survey was conducted June 9-17, 2020 among 1,188 respondents with a 5 percent margin of error.