COVID-19 Tracking Poll: One in Five Californians Knows Someone Who Died of COVID-19


Previous Poll Results

Get all the results from CHCF’s surveys of California’s health care providers and the general public in this collection.

To help Californians and state policymakers understand evolving demands on the state’s health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic, CHCF has been working with survey firms on two fronts. CHCF and global survey firm Ipsos assessed residents’ desire for COVID-19 testing and their access to health care services. CHCF and Truth on Call, a physician market-research firm, surveyed different types of health care providers about availability of testing, personal protective equipment, and their experience in California’s health care delivery system. Download the charts and data for your own presentations and analyses.

September 3, 2020 — Nineteen percent of California residents say the COVID-19 death toll includes someone they know, according to the latest tracking poll from CHCF and survey firm Ipsos. More than 180,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, including more than 13,000 Californians.

Black and Latinx Californians are more likely than white Californians to know someone who has died of the virus, with 28% of Black residents and 29% of Latinx residents saying they know a COVID-19 victim. Black and Latinx people are dying at higher rates than their representation in the population. White Californians are significantly less likely to say they know someone who has died of COVID-19, with 10% of them saying they do. Twenty-six percent of Californians with low incomes (below 138% of the federal poverty level) say they know someone who died of COVID-19.

The survey was conducted in English and Spanish from August 21 to 26.

CHCF and Ipsos asked a series of questions to determine whether Californians understand the current public health orders for containing COVID-19 and what outcomes would make them support stricter rules.

First, 92% of Californians agree they understand the current rules and orders regarding COVID-19 in the state. The results are largely consistent across race and ethnicity, as well as income.

Next, 69% of Californians agree the state should impose stricter shelter-in-place rules “to curb the spread of coronavirus.” Black, Latinx, and Asian residents are significantly more likely to agree with the need for stricter rules. Among Californians with low incomes, 78% agree the state should have stricter rules.

People who identify as “liberal” or “moderate” are much more likely to support stricter rules than those who identify as “conservative.”

CHCF and Ipsos found that support for stricter rules shifts when those rules are linked to three specific outcomes: preventing deaths, reopening businesses, and reopening schools.

Eighty-five percent of Californians support stricter shelter-in-place rules if those rules would prevent deaths. Eighty-nine percent of Black residents, 85% of Asian residents, and 91% of Latinx residents would support stricter rules to prevent deaths.

The strength of support for stricter rules to prevent deaths varies significantly by race and political ideology. Seventy-five percent of Black Californians “strongly support” stricter rules to prevent more deaths, compared to 54% of white Californians. Similarly, 75% of liberal Californians  “strongly support” stricter rules to prevent more deaths, compared to 40% of conservatives.

Californians were also asked whether they would support stricter rules if those rules allowed businesses or schools to reopen sooner. Overall, 80% of Californians “strongly” or “somewhat” support stricter rules if it allows businesses to reopen sooner. Eighty-eight percent of Black Californians support stricter rules under this circumstance, along with 83% of Asian residents, 84% of Latinx residents, and 75% of white residents.

Seventy-two percent of Californians support stricter rules if it would mean schools reopen sooner. Seventy-six percent of people with children ages 5 to 17 would support stricter rules in this case, with 47% expressing “strong support.”

Methodology: This survey was conducted online in Ipsos’s Omnibus using the web-enabled “KnowledgePanel,” a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the California general population, not just the online population. It was conducted in English and Spanish. The study consisted of 1,209 representative interviews conducted among California residents who are at least 18 years old between August 21 and August 26, 2020. The margin of error is +/-3.1 percentage points.

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