Months have passed since COVID-19 initially spread across the globe. The response and feelings towards the pandemic have greatly varied depending on location and belief systems. Many people have come to adopt new behaviors to help us overcome the risk of exposure to the virus. However, the effects of the pandemic are well beyond physical health as thousands of families and businesses continue to experience the financial impact of the global pandemic. Each month since the pandemic began, DHM has tracked Oregonians’ views and opinions of the virus and how elected leaders have responded to it. In this month’s panel, we check-in with Oregonians to trace the patterns in opinion overtime.
These findings come from a DHM Research (DHM) and Oregon Values and Beliefs Center (OVBC) online survey conducted from October 1 to October 6, 2020 about a variety of issues including COVID-19, climate change, homelessness, and public finance and taxation. Quality control measures were taken including pretesting the questionnaire and randomizing questions to reduce order bias. Demographic quotas and statistical weighting were also used to ensure a representative sample of 600 Oregonians ages 18+. The margin of error for each question falls between +/-2.4% and +/-4.0% at the 95% confidence level, depending on how the response category percentages split for any given question.
COVID-19 remains a top tier issue that Oregonians want addressed by their elected leaders.
When asked to indicate which issue is most important for elected leaders to address, Oregonians list law enforcement (19%), the environment (14%), and COVID-19 (11%) most often.
Although the degree of importance to address COVID-19 has fallen below law enforcement and the environment, creating a plan to address the coronavirus has remained one of the top three issues for Oregonians since the virus appeared in March.
About half of Oregonians are still worried about their personal financial situation due to COVID.
DHM survey results from March indicated that a majority of Oregonians (63%) were somewhat (40%) or very (23%) worried about their personal financial situation. Results from DHM’s April Panel Survey revealed that a majority of Oregonians were worried about the personal financial impact that COVID-19 would have on them. More than half (56%) of Oregonians were very (19%) or somewhat (37%) worried about their personal financial situation in the month of April. October’s panel results indicate that a similar proportion of Oregonians (53%) are still very (19%) or somewhat (33%) worried about their personal financial situation. Results from surveys conducted by DHM in June and September reveal that the level of worry among Oregonians has remained fairly consistent.
Around half of Oregonians are worried that COVID-19 may infect them, a member of their household, or someone under their care.
Oregonians were first asked by DHM how worried they were about personally becoming infected by COVID-19 in April 2020. They were also asked how worried they were that a member of their household or someone who relies on their support for medical care would become infected by COVID-19. We have asked Oregonians this same set of questions in the October panel to observe the change over time.
Nearly half of Oregonians (47%) indicate that they are very (12%) or somewhat (35%) worried about personally being infected by the virus. The proportion of Oregonians who are worried about personally becoming infected has remained fairly constant since April 2020 (45%).
More than half of Oregonians (55%) are very (23%) or somewhat (32%) worried that a member of their household will be infected by COVID-19. This level of concern is consistent with data from DHM’s April Panel where 55% of Oregonians were very (24%) or somewhat (31%) worried about members of their household becoming infected by the virus.
Four in ten (43%) Oregonians are very (16%) or somewhat (27%) worried that someone who would rely on them for support for medical care will become infected with COVID-19. This percentage has decreased slightly since DHM’s April Panel when 48% of Oregonians were very (20%) or somewhat (28%) worried about people who they medically support becoming infected with COVID-19.
More than half of Oregonians believe that the FDA will approve a vaccine for COVID-19 sometime next year.
A majority of Oregonians (54%) think that the FDA will approve a vaccine for COVID-19 sometime next year. About one in six Oregonians (15%) believe that the FDA will approve a vaccine sometime between the election and the end of the year, while fewer Oregonians believe that a vaccine will be approved sometime after next year (9%) or before the November election (3%). However, nearly one in five (19%) Oregonians say they don’t know when a vaccine will be approved.
Belief about the timeline of the FDA’s approval for a vaccine differ by area of state, age, race, party, and education.
Oregon residents in the Tri-county (65%) area are more likely to believe the vaccine will be approved sometime next year compared to the Willamette Valley (48%) and the rest of the state (41%). About one in four residents living in the rest of state (23%) are also more likely to believe that a vaccine will be approved between the election and the end of the year.
Oregonians ages 65+ (70%) are more likely to believe that a vaccine for COVID-19 will be approved sometime next year compared to their younger counterparts (46%-53%). White people (56%) were also more likely to hold this belief than people of color (38%).
Democrats (70%) are also more likely to believe that a vaccine will be approved sometime next year, while those who identify as Independent/Other (49%) and Republicans (35%) are less likely to think that a vaccine will be approved sometime next year.
College graduates (72%) are also more likely to believe that a vaccine for COVID-19 will be approved sometime next year compared to people who have obtained some college education (47%) or those who have a high school diploma or less (47%).
Results from a similar survey conducted by DHM in September indicated that a majority of Oregonians (67%) would definitely (39%) or probably (28%) get the vaccine when it becomes available.
The research was completed as a community service by DHM Research in partnership with the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center. Both organizations are independent and non-partisan. DHM Research is a Certified B Corporation (www.dhmresearch.com) and OVBC is an Oregon charitable nonprofit corporation (www.oregonvbc.org).