Tracking the Pandemic in the Battleground: Wave 1 (April 5, 2020)

For the first time in our post-Tea Party era, America responded to a big national challenge with a single voice. Nine in ten Democrats, independents, and Republicans embraced social distancing to fight the pandemic in a way that stopped the economy, split families apart and most of all, left most Americans feeling “anxious,” “nervous,” “scared,” “lonely,” even “depressed.” That is dramatically transforming our politics and elections to come — nowhere more than in their new, rather unified, determination to vote in safety and to vote by mail.

Democracy Corps conducted a 2,000-sample web survey on behalf of the non-profit and non-partisan Center for Voter Information (CVI) in 16 battleground states, the first of a series of tracking surveys on the pandemic. This survey includes important open-ended questions that allows people to talk about their current experience and how they want to vote in these extraordinary times. Three quarters want no-reason absentee voting and two thirds, want every voter being mailed an absentee ballot and all voters voting by mail. Nearly every effort to make it easier to vote is supported by a majority of Republicans.

But while the country is united in fighting the pandemic with social distancing, the rising costs are only exacerbating our partisan, racial, class, generational, family type, and religious differences. This is elevating the demand for unprecedented government action and new ways to vote and an honest leader who can make the brave decisions demanded. That only reinforces the deep doubts about Donald Trump that leaves him damaged.

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