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More than half of Republicans believe that the number of U.S. deaths from coronavirus—currently more than 176,000 and counting—are acceptable, according to a new CBS/YouGov poll released Sunday, and even more believe that there have been fewer actual deaths than have been reported in the United States. By contrast, nine in ten Democrats and 67% of independents responding to the same question said that the number of deaths from COVID-19 is not acceptable — illustrating not only the deep political divide over the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response but the dissonance between Republicans and the rest of the public over whether some of these problems even exist.
The poll of 2,226 registered voters was conducted between August 19 and August 21, during the week of the Democratic National Convention.
A full three-quarters of Republicans polled believe that America is better off than it was four years ago. Just 35 percent of the public overall believes the same thing. Similarly, 67% of Republicans think the economy is good, and 73% think the U.S.’s handling of the coronavirus is “going well.” The national unemployment rate is 10.2% and the GDP shrank by 33% in the second quarter—largely because of the pandemic and the Trump administration’s response to it.
By contrast, just 61% of all respondents said the economy is bad and 62% said the coronavirus response is also bad.
The poll also provides some insight into where the Republicans’ insistence that everything is OK comes from: deep support for Trump and hatred of Democrats. Eight-two percent of Republicans who were asked why America is better off than it was four years ago said they believe that because of their trust in Trump, while 70% said it’s because the economy is good. Another 70% said it’s because Democrats aren’t in power.
Interestingly, support for Trump doesn’t necessarily translate into support for the Republican Party: 42% of Republican voters who were asked why they identified with the party said it was because they dislike what Democrats stand for, while just 58% said it’s because they like what the Republican Party stands for.
On the election front, the poll also found that Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden continues to hold a strong 10-point lead over Trump among all likely voters, 52% to 42%.
While Democratic enthusiasm remains around the same level it was at before the convention, it appears that the DNC did sway a number of independents: 45% of independent voters said they felt more positive about Biden after watching the convention, as opposed to 30% of independent voters who felt more negatively about Biden, the poll found.
The Republican National Convention kicks off on Monday. Asked what the convention should focus on, 90% of Republican respondents said they wanted it to showcase praise of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence as opposed to attacks on the Democratic ticket.
Cover: A woman wearing a mask with Trump/Pence written on it as Artist Scott Lobaido Hosts Rally to Ousts NYC Mayor Bill Di Blasio outside NYC City Hall on August 22, 2020 (Photo by John Nacion/NurPhoto via AP)