Coronavirus: What's the view among D.C.'s Elite?

Oliver RoweGlobal Sector Head ‑ Leisure & Entertainment
June 24, 2020, 5:19 PM GMT+0

In April 2020 YouGov polled policy elites in Washington DC to ask their views about the current coronavirus crisis. The 156 respondents highlighted the fact that some things were going to change forever for the US as a result of the infection while also criticising some of the steps that have been taken at a federal level.

Survey highlights among this sample which was drawn from Congress, think tanks, trade bodies and advocacy groups, include:

  • 4 in 5 (79%) of DC Elites believe we are looking at a new normal

  • 4 in 5 (81%) think China should have done more to prevent the virus spreading and two thirds (68%) say Europe should have done more. 84% think the Executive Branch should have done more and 82% think the Federal Government in general should have done more to prevent the spread.
  • 60% fear there will be a second wave of infections which may be as bad, or worse, than this initial wave.
  • Under half (45%) think commercial companies are doing their part to help out but a quarter (24%) disagree with this and feel they are being supportive.
  • Asked to pick between the economy and health of the its citizens, 61% of DC Elites believe the Federal Government’s response to the virus has been too focused on the US economy (29% much too focused, 32% slightly too focused). In contrast only 14% feel the response has favoured the health of US citizens too much. Just 1 in 5 (21%) feel the balance has been about right.

  • Two thirds (67%) say too little has been done by the Federal Government to support small businesses and a similar number (63%) feel too little has been done to help individual citizens. By contrast two in five (42%) say too much has been done to help large corporations. 61% think the support given to financial markets was about right.

  • When it comes to how long it will take for various things to return to levels seen before the outbreak, 38% think the oil price will be back within a year, 36% say the main stock market indices will be too, and 34% say consumer spending. However almost half (46%) say it will take three years or more before employment rates will return to pre-outbreak levels versus a more optimistic one in six (17%) who think it will take no more than 12 months

Methodology: Fieldwork was completed April 8th – 27th 2020. 156 elites working in Washington DC completed the survey anonymously online, drawn from think tanks, Congress, trade bodies, advocacy groups and other relevant organisations. The majority (57%) of respondents work for nonpartisan/bipartisan organisations while the rest were evenly split between Republican (22%) and Democrat (20%). Job titles of respondents were most likely to be Director/VP/Dept Head, CEO/Exec Dir/President, Fellow/Senior Researcher or Senior/Policy Advisor.

Image: Getty

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