Trust in COVID tests, one year of President Biden, religious discrimination in the U.S., and other top findings from the latest Economist/YouGov poll, conducted January 15-18, 2022, among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens:
One in four Republicans report having tested positive for COVID-19
As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, more Americans are reporting knowing someone who has tested positive for the virus. The nation’s latest outbreaks have caused the Biden Administration to ramp up efforts to distribute free at-home COVID-19 tests, but data indicates that Americans do not trust all tests equally.
- Nearly one in five Americans (19%) this week say that they personally have tested positive for COVID-19 at some point during the pandemic. That represents a 7-point increase over the past month (12% of U.S. adults said they had tested positive in the Economist/YouGov poll conducted December 19 - 21, 2021).
- The share of people with self-reported positive tests is higher among Republicans (25%) than among Independents (17%) and Democrats (15%).
Americans trust tests more when they are administered by healthcare workers
- When it comes to the various forms of COVID-19 tests, Americans are most likely to put “a great deal” of trust (35%) in the results of PCR tests conducted by healthcare workers outside of the home. Trust in PCR tests surpasses trust in rapid antigen tests conducted by healthcare workers outside the home (22% have a “a great deal” of trust in those).
- Just one in eight U.S. adults (12%) place a great deal of trust in at-home PCR tests, compared to only 9% who place a great deal of trust in at-home rapid antigen tests — the kind that the Biden Administration will soon be sending out.
- Despite having less trust in such tests, most Americans (56%) say they would request at-home rapid COVID-19 tests if they are mailed to them at no cost. Democrats are more likely than Independents and Republicans to trust every test type, but even they trust tests administered by healthcare workers much more than at-home options.
- Even still, Americans are stocking up. More than one in five U.S. adults (22%) report acquiring an at-home COVID-19 test, while 16% have used one. About one in 11 Americans (9%) report having trouble acquiring an at-home COVID-19 test.
- Of those who have acquired and used at-home tests, which are traditionally nasal swabs, about one-quarter say they have swabbed their throat. While not endorsed by the FDA, throat swabbing has been debated as an alternate method for detecting the Omicron variant.
Who would Republicans prefer as Speaker of the House?
Thinking ahead to the 2022 midterms, Americans have mixed opinions regarding who they’d like to see as Speaker of the House if Republicans win the majority. Many Republicans would like to see Trump as Speaker, though a roughly equal amount would prefer a different Republican other than Trump or McCarthy.
- One-third (32%) of Republicans say they would like to see Donald Trump as the House Speaker if Republicans win the majority in in 2022, while 22% say they'd like to see current House Republicans leader Kevin McCarthy as Speaker and 28% say they would like to see a different Republican.
- Most Democrats (55%) say they would like to see a Republican other than Trump or McCarthy as Speaker if Republicans win the House in 2022; only 8% say they would like to see McCarthy and only 6% say they would like to see Trump.
Biden’s progress with his campaign promises
One year into Biden’s presidency, Americans are skeptical about how much progress he has made toward the selected campaign promises we polled, and pessimistic about how much progress he will make toward his promises in the coming year. Opinions on Biden’s progress vary depending on the promise, though overall, Americans tend to say that he has made either little or no progress toward his stated goals.
- One-third of Americans (34%) say Biden has made a lot or some progress toward getting the COVID-19 pandemic under control, compared to 52% who say he has made only a little or no progress.
- Three in 10 Americans (29%) say he has made a lot or some progress toward increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, compared to 52% who say he has made only a little or no progress.
- Three in 10 Americans (29%) say he has made a lot or some progress toward putting the U.S. on track to have a clean energy economy, compared to 54% who say he has made only a little or no progress.
- Americans were less likely to say Biden has made at least some progress toward other promises, including forgiving student loan debt (24%), decriminalizing marijuana (23%), and getting bipartisan support in Congress for economic relief (20%).
- Democrats were most likely to say he kept his promises — a lot or somewhat — on controlling COVID-19 (62%), clean energy (45%), and increasing the minimum wage (45%). They were least likely to say he has kept his promises regarding student loan debt (35%), bipartisan economic relief (31%), and decriminalizing marijuana (25%).
- Compared to how they evaluated Biden’s progress thus far, Americans are equally pessimistic about Biden’s chances of making further progress toward his campaign promises in 2022. No more than one-third of Americans say they expect him to make a lot or some progress toward each of the six campaign promises polled.
Republicans and Democrats agree that Jewish Americans face discrimination, but disagree on other forms of religious prejudice
In a poll that was fielded just after a man took four hostages at a Texas synagogue, then was killed by police after the hostages escaped, Americans agree that anti-Semitism is a major problem in the U.S. They disagree on the extent of prejudice against other religious groups — and on the extent of domestic terrorism in the U.S.
- About two-thirds of Republicans (65%) and nearly three in four Democrats (72%) say that Jewish people in the U.S. face “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of discrimination today. Members of the two major parties split on the extent of discrimination against other religious groups, though: While 86% of Democrats say Muslim people face “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of discrimination today, just 55% of Republicans agree. Meanwhile, 62% of Republicans say Christians face “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of discrimination today; only 24% of Democrats agree. In other words, more Republicans say Christians face “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of discrimination today in the U.S. than say the same about Muslims.
- Just one in five (21%) of Americans say anti-Semitism is a very or somewhat serious problem in their local community, including twice the share of Democrats as Republicans (32% compared to 15%). Far more Americans say anti-Semitism is a very or somewhat serious problem in U.S.: 55% overall, including 70% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans.
- More than one-third (37%) of Americans say domestic terrorism poses a serious and immediate threat to the U.S., including 55% of Democrats and 28% of Republicans. The partisan divide was even greater when we last asked the question, in April 2021—and two months earlier, soon after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Democrats also are more likely than Republicans to say hate crimes are on the rise in the last 12 months in the U.S. and in their local communities.
- Far more Americans say the government should be doing more to fight domestic terrorism than say it is doing too much (53% to 14%). Here the partisan divide is less stark: Democrats favor more rather than less government action on domestic terrorism by 69% to 7%, compared to a margin of 49% to 20% among Republicans.
- In a separate poll conducted Jan. 18-19, 2022, among U.S. adults, one-quarter (24%) said they had received training in the last five years on how to respond to an active shooter, but three-quarters (76%) said it was very or somewhat important to receive such training.
Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between January 15 and January 18, 2022. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the 2018 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as 2016 and 2020 Presidential votes (or non-votes). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3% for the overall sample.