Majority of Republicans believe US death toll of 170,000 is 'acceptable', poll finds

National poll reveals striking partisan differences on US handling of coronavirus  

Richard Hall
New York
Monday 24 August 2020 10:00
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Donald Trump holds a face mask emblazoned with the presidential seal on a visit to a Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan
Donald Trump holds a face mask emblazoned with the presidential seal on a visit to a Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan

A majority of Republicans surveyed in a national poll believe the number of deaths from the coronavirus is “acceptable,” and hold positive views of the US response to the pandemic.

The new poll showed a significant partisan divide over how each party sees the health emergency, which is killing some 1,000 Americans every day.

Fifty-seven percent of Republicans surveyed agreed with the statement that the number of coronavirus deaths in the US — which this week reached over 176,000 — was “acceptable.”

Conversely, 90 percent of Democrats said the number of deaths was unacceptable, as did 67 percent of independents.

The poll was carried out by YouGov on behalf of CBS News, using a representative sample of 2,226 registered voters interviewed between August 19-21, 2020.

More than five million people in the US have been infected with the coronavirus since the pandemic began — more than any other country. While the number of new cases in the US have trended downward nationwide in recent weeks, fatalities have not. Most of the deaths are occurring in Arizona, Florida, California and Texas.

The CBS poll also found differences between Democrats and Republicans on how the US has handled the pandemic. Seventy-three percent of Republicans said the response was "going well", compared to just 38 percent of all voters.

As the presidential election campaign picks up pace, partisan differences in how each candidate views the coronavirus have also become clearer.

Mr Biden said this week he would not hesitate to shut down the country again if scientists recommended the measure to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

(CBS News

In his first joint interview with running mate Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee criticised his opponent Donald Trump’s rush to reopen after a nationwide lockdown as a “fundamental flaw” in his handling of the pandemic.

“I would shut it down; I would listen to the scientists,” Mr Biden told ABC, when asked how he would respond if experts recommended it.

Mr Trump, meanwhile, has pushed for reopenings across the country in an attempt to revive a flagging economy, famously declaring that “we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.”

The president also made an unsubstantiated claim this week that the “deep state” was delaying a coronavirus vaccine until after the election.

“The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics,” he wrote on Twitter on Saturday morning.

“Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!”

The head of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr Stephen Hahn, was nominated by Mr Trump for the role in 2019.

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