Will COVID-19 unite or divide the country?

Jamie BallardData Journalist
July 08, 2020, 6:30 PM GMT+0

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, many might be wondering what long-term effects the pandemic could have on the country’s morale. Will Americans come through this crisis more united, or more divided?

Just over half (54%) of US adults say that right now, the coronavirus crisis has divided the United States, according to The Economist/YouGov poll. Far fewer (15%) say that the crisis has united the nation, while about one in five (19%) say it hasn't done either.

Democrats (58%) and Independents (55%) are slightly more likely than Republicans (49%) to say the pandemic has divided the country.

Looking forward, Americans are less certain about the lasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

After the outbreak has been contained, 22 percent believe the crisis will have united the country, while about one-third (32%) say it will have divided the United States. Roughly a quarter (26%) say that the pandemic will not have made any difference in how divided or united the nation is at that point.

On this issue, likely Trump voters and likely Biden voters are largely aligned. Among registered voters who choose Trump in a trial heat, 35 percent say they think the crisis will have divided the United States. A similar number (33%) of registered voters who chose Biden in a trial heat agree. About one-quarter (24%) of likely Biden supporters, and 22 percent of likely Trump supporters, think the pandemic will have united the US more.

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll

Related: Americans divided on buying up the world stock of remdesivir

Methodology: The most recent Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between July 5 - 7, 2020. The approximate margin of error is 3.2 percentage points for the overall sample. Samples are weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens.

Image: Getty