New research from Louisiana State University shows how politics are playing a role in the coronavirus pandemic.
LSU Manship School of Communication recently surveyed 1,000 Louisianians about the pandemic, the government’s response, and public health initiatives like social distancing and wearing masks.
The research showed some partisan gaps. Regarding masks, people were asked: Is wearing a mask responsible? 76% of those polled said yes, but 93% of those who said yes were democrats and 63% were republicans.
“We saw a little partisan unity at the beginning of this but it seems like we’re returning to these old trends where partisan identity influences how you see everything,” explained Dr. Christie Maloyed with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Political Science department.
The LSU Manship School study shows 89% of democrats support continuing restrictions even at an economic cost, while 68% of republicans support easing restrictions for the sake of the economy even if it comes at a health cost.
Dr. Maloyed says even during a pandemic, there are partisan divides.
“We see people who are in more vulnerable economic positions who identify as democrats, so they’re feeling a lot of uncertainty and they don’t know if they’re going to have jobs so there’s a lot of anxiety around that. Whereas republicans tend to have far more of an economically secure base, more small business owners who are really looking forward to being able to reopen and get back to where they were before,” said Maloyed.
Dr. Maloyed points out that there is some agreement.
“We still see over 60% of republicans saying some restrictions are still needed, you should still be wearing a mask. It’s really rare to see surveys over 60% of both republicans and democrats to agree on anything,” Maloyed said.
As the nation looks to rebound , Dr. Maloyed says politics will continue to play a role.
“It’s really hard to prepare economic or political plans when you’re faced with that level of anxiety about reopening. There’s a lot to figure out and really we’re on a short political timeline with the presidential elections coming up in November,” said Maloyed .
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