This confirms a long-standing belief in political science, said Professor Klar: “If a topic becomes really threatening and really important to you, then taking sides weakens your decision-making.”
It’s at least a moderately comforting thought.
“Often the focus is so much on people whose partiality seems to outweigh concern for their own health or concern for others,” said Professor Krupnikov. “But I think it’s important to emphasize that there are, at least in our data, a lot of people for whom politics actually played an enormous supporting role compared to the health crisis around them.”
What this means in practical terms for the future of the pandemic is less clear, especially because we haven’t conducted many reliable surveys since the delta surge got out of hand.
The limited surveys we have show that a majority of Americans are concerned about the Delta variant and support the CDC’s recommendation that people wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status – and this pattern applies in all regions, including the South, said Mary Snow, a poll analyst at Quinnipiac University. But there are still deep partisan rifts in these data.
President Biden’s approval rating also appears to have suffered some damage, but that can’t be because of the rise itself. It could be more because “because we were told we were out of the woods early summer and that didn’t happen,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “And that’s as much a reflection of messaging as anything else: ‘Why did you tell us you were in control when you weren’t?'”
Ultimately, given such a contagious variant, it only takes a small minority of Americans to derail epidemiological progress – and the most partisan Republicans orientate themselves towards leaders who have no political incentive to give others.
Politically, in a state like Mississippi, the governor has more to fear from a far-right key challenger than a Democrat in general elections, noted Professor Vronsky.
Comments are closed.