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Survey of 1,099 Virginians - Virginia Statewide - COVID-19 Survey - July 2020

A majority of Virginians were pleased with the Governor of Virginia and his handling of the response to the coronavirus pandemic in the Commonwealth (54% approval). It includes praise for Governor Ralph Northam and his timely stay-at-home orders and openness regarding the release of health statistics, according to a new Hampton University Center for Public Policy poll conducted from July 13-21, 2020. The poll focuses on Virginians attitudes about COVID-19.

Virginians strongly disapprove of how President Donald Trump is handling the coronavirus pandemic (73%) and have equally low marks to the overall response to the pandemic by the federal government (60%).

As the number of coronavirus cases continue to surge past four million in the United States alone, 81% are following the restrictions put in place, including such measures as wearing a mask when leaving home (80%), avoiding other people as much as possible (69%), and, keeping six feet away from people who are not in their household (74%).

While a small percentage of Virginians surveyed have been laid off or filed for unemployment, the personal financial situation of 45% of those surveyed has not been impacted by coronavirus outbreak.

Despite the increase in COVID-19 cases recently in Virginia, 77% of Virginians do not have a close friend or relative who has been diagnosed by a health care provider.

Q17. Have you or has a close friend or relative been diagnosed with the coronavirus by a health care provider, or not?

  Yes No Don’t Know Skip/Refused
Diagnosed with coronavirus? 23 77 * *
N=1,099

However, Virginians are watching, reading, or talking about COVID-19 a lot (69%), 45% often and 24% most of the time.

Q8. How much are you watching, reading, or talking about Coronavirus/COVID-19?

  Top Net Never Rarely Occasionally Bottom Net Often Most of the time Don't Know Skip/Ref to Answer
Watching, Reading, Talking COVID19: 10 4 6 21 69 45 24 - *
N=1,099

Despite the drastic change to "life as usual", 81% of Virginians report they either always or often follow the restrictions put in place in response to the pandemic.

Q10. When it comes to the restrictions that are in place in Virginia in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus, how frequently do you follow the restrictions?

  Top Net Always Often Sometimes Bottom Net Rarely Never Don't Know Skip/Refuse to Answer
Restrictions In Virginia 81 59 22 12 7 3 4 * *
N=1,099

Many of those surveyed have taken protective measures in response to the coronavirus. Including the avoidance of gatherings with 50 people or more, wearing a mask outside of the home, avoiding some or all restaurants, avoiding public or crowded places, and, canceling or postponing dentist or other appointments.

Q11. Which of the following measures, if any, are you taking in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus?

  Yes
Avoiding gatherings of 50 people or more 80
Avoiding other people as much as possible 69
Wearing a mask when leaving home 80
Staying home except for essential errands 61
Stocking up on extra food or water 40
Avoiding some or all restaurants 65
Canceling or postponing pleasure, social or recreational activities 64
Avoiding public or crowded places 74
Keeping six feet distance from those outside my household 74
Canceling or postponing dentist or other appointment 38
Canceling outside housekeepers or caregivers 27
Other 11
None of the above 5
Don’t Know -
Skipped on Web *
Refused -
N= 1,099  

The frequency in which those surveyed are speaking of the pandemic includes their attitudes about the healthcare system and the competency of Virginia's hospitals. When the virus first started spreading, 35% think hospitals in Virginia were somewhat prepared to deal with the outbreak and 47% thought they were not very prepared or at all.

Q6. When the coronavirus first started spreading in the U.S., how prepared do you think hospitals in Virginia were to deal with the coronavirus outbreak?

  Top Net Extremely Prepared Very Prepared Somewhat prepared Bottom Net Not very Prepared Not at all Prepared Don't Know Skip/Refuse to Answer
Hospitals in Virginia 16 4 13 35 47 26 21 * 1
N=1,099

Since the plan for reopening Virginia began, 34% of respondents think the hospitals are prepared now, while 42% believe hospitals are only somewhat prepared.

Q7. Based on Virginia’s plans for reopening, how prepared do you think Virginia’s hospitals are now?

  Top Net Extremely Prepared Very Prepared Somewhat prepared Bottom Net Not very Prepared Not at all Prepared Don't Know Skip/Refuse to Answer
Preparation of Virginia Hospitals Now 34 8 26 42 22 15 7 * 2
N=1,099

Many Virginians were not prepared for the economic and financial impact the coronavirus would have on the overall economy of the state of Virginia, or their lives. While only 28% think the Virginia economy will get better in the next year, 45% think it will get somewhat worse or much worse.

Q4. In the next year, do you think the Virginia economy will get better, get worse, or stay about the same?

  Top NET Much Better Somewhat Better About The same Bottom NET Somewhat Worse Much worse Dont Know Skip/Refuse to Answer
The Virginia economy will: 28 4 24 26 45 29 16 * *
N=1,099

Despite the negative outlook on the future of the state's economy, many Virginians have confidence in Governor Ralph Northam and his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, including 59% who think the Governor issued the stay at home order at the right time. This response is in contrast to the President's handling of the pandemic response. It is 54% that approve of Governor Northam's handling of the response in Virginia with 28% disapproving. Some 73% disapprove of how President Trump handled the coronavirus outbreak with 19% approving.

Q2. Overall, do you approve, disapprove, or neither approve nor disapprove of the way each of the following people is handling the coronavirus outbreak?

  Strongly/ Somewhat Approve NET Strongly Approve Somewhat Approve Neither Approve/ Disapprove Somewhat/ Strongly Disapprove NET Somewhat Disaaprove Strongly Disapprove Don't Know Skip/Refuse to Answer
Governor Ralph Northam 54 22 32 17 28 13 16 * 1
President Donald Trump 19 11 8 6 73 8 65 * 2
N=1,099

Q5. In dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, do you think Governor Ralph Northam issued the stay at home order too early, too late, or at about the right time?

  Too early Too late At about the right time Don't Know Skipped/Refuse to Answer
Stay at home order was issued: 9 30 59 * 1
N=1,099

Attitudes about government response to the pandemic at the state, local and federal level tell a similar story to the approval and disapproval ratings of the leadership at the top. Virginians surveyed approve of the manner in which the state government handled the pandemic (54%) and the response by their local government (52%). Those surveyed strongly disapprove of the handling of the coronavirus outbreak by the federal government (60%).

Q3. Do you approve, disapprove, or neither approve nor disapprove of how each of the following is handling the coronavirus outbreak?

  Strongly/ Somewhat Approve NET Strongly Approve Somewhat Approve Neither Approve/ Disapprove Somewhat/ Strongly Disapprove NET Somewhat Disaaprove Strongly Disapprove Don't Know Skip/Refuse to Answer
Your state government 54 18 37 14 30 15 15 - 2
Your city or local govt. 52 15 36 21 26 15 11 * 1
The federal government 24 7 17 14 60 19 42 - 2
N=1,099

Democrats strongly approve of the state's handling of the coronavirus outbreak (72%). Republicans are split with 42% disapproving and 40% approving the state's response. While 46% of those identifying as Independents disapprove and 35% approve of how the state is handling the pandemic.

Q3A. Your State Government - Do you approve, disapprove, or neither approve nor disapprove of how each of the following is handling the coronavirus outbreak? (By Party Identification)

  Strongly/ Somewhat Approve NET Strongly Approve Somewhat Approve Neither Approve/ Disapprove Somewhat/ Strongly Disapprove NET Somewhat Disaaprove Strongly Disapprove Don't Know Skip/Refuse to Answer
Democrats 72 26 46 10 16 9 7 - -
Independents 35 9 25 18 46 21 25 - 3
Republicans 40 9 31 17 42 22 20 - -
N=1,099

Some Virginians have had to make adjustments in their usual work schedule by taking unpaid time off and wage and salary reductions but an overwhelming number have not had those experiences due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Q16. Have you or has someone in your household experienced each of the following because of the coronavirus outbreak, or not?

  Yes No Don’t Know Skip/Refused
Been laid off 20 78 - 2
Been scheduled for fewer hours 27 69 - 4
Taken unpaid time off 17 78 - 4
Had your wages or salary reduced 23 74 - 3
Filed for unemployment 21 75 - 3
N=1,099

The work situation has not changed for many Virginians who are still working at their regular workplace outside the home.

Q14. Which of the following best describes your current work situation?

  Percentage
I worked from home before the coronavirus outbreak and continue to work from home 13
I am now working from home instead of my regular workplace because of the coronavirus 39
I am still working at my regular workplace outside the home 48
Don't Know -
Skipped/Refused *
N=628

For more details and Topline results, please visit the Hampton University Center for Public Policy website at www.hamptonu.edu/polls/.

Symbols:
*   indicates respondents less than 1%
-   indicates no respondents in the category
N   indicates Net number of respondents who answered the question


Methodology

This study was funded by Hampton University and conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. The survey is designed to provide estimates of the Virginia adult household population. Interviews were conducted July 13-21, 2020, with 1,099 adults age 18 and older residing in Virginia. Interviews were conducted in English.

The survey combined interviews from both probability and nonprobability sample sources. The probability interviews were conducted using a multi-mode address-based sample (or ABS) approach that allows residents of each area to complete the interview via web or with an NORC telephone interviewer. The nonprobability interviews were provided by Dynata and completed on the web using their opt-in panel.

The ABS sampling frame is based on an extract of the U.S. Postal Service delivery-sequence file (DSF). The DSF provides sample coverage of approximately 97% of the U.S. household population. Those excluded from the sample include people with P.O. Box only addresses, some addresses not listed in the USPS Delivery Sequence File, and some newly constructed dwellings. Addresses are stratified by the Census propensity to respond metric and then randomly selected within each of four target regions in Virginia.

All sampled households are mailed a postcard inviting them to complete the survey either online using a unique PIN or via telephone by calling a toll-free number. Postcards are addressed to: [CITY] HOUSEHOLD. There is no within household selection for households with multiple adults. Interviews are conducted with adults age 18 and over, and 629 completed the survey.

Interviews were conducted online and over the phone, with 582 completing via the web and 47 completing via telephone. Interviews were conducted in English and respondents were not offered a monetary incentive for completing the survey. The screener completion rate is 2.3% and the final stage completion rate is 91.4% for a cumulative response rate of 2.1%.

ABS Sample Performance Summary

Sampled/ Invited Panelists No. Screening Interviews Completed Screener Completion Rate No. Panelists Eligible for Interview Incidence/ Eligibility for Interview No. Survey Interviews Completed No. Completed Online No. Completed by Phone Interview Completion Rate Response Rate
30,318 686 2.3% 686 100% 629 582 47 91.4% 2.1%

Dynata provided 470 nonprobability interviews. The Dynata sample was selected based on quotas related to age, race and ethnicity, and gender. Interviews were conducted in English and via the web only. For panel recruitment, Dynata uses invitations of all types including email invitations, phone alerts, banners, and messaging on panel community sites to include people with a diversity of motivations to take part in research. Because nonprobability panels do not start with a frame where there is a known probability of selection, standard measures of sampling error and response rates cannot be calculated.

Once the samples have been selected and fielded, and all the study data have been collected and made final, an iterative raking process is used to adjust for any survey nonresponse as well as any non-coverage or under and oversampling resulting from the study specific sample design. Raking variables include age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, and county groupings based on county level counts of the number of COVID-19 deaths. Demographic weighting variables were obtained from the 2020 Current Population Survey. The count of COVID-19 deaths by county was obtained from USA Facts. The weighted data reflect the Virginia population of adults age 18 and over.

In order to incorporate the nonprobability sample with the probability sample, NORC used TrueNorth®, a calibration approach developed at NORC that features small domain estimation methods to account for potential bias associated with the nonprobability sample. The purpose of TrueNorth calibration is to adjust the weights for the nonprobability sample so as to bring weighted distributions of the nonprobability sample in line with the population distribution for characteristics correlated with the survey variables. Such calibration adjustments help to reduce potential bias, yielding more accurate population estimates.

A small domain model was used with the combined samples to generate estimates at the domain level, where the domains were defined by race/ethnicity, age, education, and gender. The dependent variables for the models were approval of President Donald Trump and whether respondents or a close friend/relative had been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and the small domain model included covariates and domain-level random effects. The covariates were external data available from the American Community Survey (ACS) such as health insurance, internet access, and housing type from the ACS. The final combined ABS and nonprobability sample weights were derived so the weighted estimates of the combined sample were consistent with the small domain model estimates derived for key survey variables.

Although there is no statistically agreed upon approach for calculating margins of error for nonprobability samples, NORC uses a calculation called the root mean squared error to estimate uncertainty for combined probability and nonprobability samples. A mean square error is a measure of uncertainty that incorporates the variability associated with the estimates, as well as the bias associated with the estimates derived from a nonprobability sample. Using this approach, the overall margin of error for the combined sample is +/- 5.0 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, including the design effect. The margin of sampling error may be higher for subgroups.

About the Hampton University Center for Public Policy

The HU Center for Public Policy is an objective, non-partisan source for information and solutions on a variety of topics. Along with HU's mission of education and service, the Center for Public Policy stands to serve as the pulse of the people of Virginia. For Topline results, the executive summary and more information on the Hampton University Center for Public Policy visit http://www.hamptonu.edu/cpp/polls/ or contact University Relations at (757) 727-5253.

About the NORC at the University of Chicago

NORC at the University of Chicago is an independent research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, NORC has conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge. Please visit https://www.norc.org for more information.