One year later: Americans are still following news about the coronavirus closely

Linley SandersSenior Data Journalist
February 22, 2021, 7:17 PM UTC

It’s been more than one year since The Economist/YouGov poll began tracking America’s view of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the weekly poll, YouGov has asked Americans whether they are following news about the pandemic and measured their level of fear about contracting coronavirus.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Americans’ lives for over a year, they are still closely engaged with the news. In February 2020, two-thirds of Americans (68%) said they were following news about the pandemic “very closely” or “somewhat closely.” Now, three-quarters (77%) are paying attention to coronavirus news coverage.

Democrats are especially likely to be following COVID-19 news more closely than they did at this time last year. Nine in 10 Democrats (89%) are engaged with news about the coronavirus, compared to 77% who were when YouGov started tracking the question. 

Republicans have returned to their previous level of news engagement, though this still remains high. In February 2020, 73% of Republicans were following coronavirus news very or somewhat closely. That reached a high of 94% in March 2020 as the nation confirmed cases in every state and President Donald Trump declared a national emergency. Fast forward to this week, and 72% Republicans continue to follow the news about COVID-19 this closely.  

Related: One year and 500,000 deaths later: Democrats remain the most worried about contracting COVID-19

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

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US Adult Citizens interviewed online between January 31 - February 2, 2021. This sample was 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. The margin of error is approximately 2.9% for the overall sample.  

Image: Getty