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COVID-19: Muhlenberg College poll: Concern grew from 67 to 81 percent

A “Muhlenberg College 2020 Pennsylvania Public Health Poll: Coronavirus Report” found that 74 percent of Pennsylvania adults were either “very concerned” or “concerned” about the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States.

The poll was conducted March 2 - 16.

During the time of the survey, the percent of Pennsylvanians “very concerned” or “concerned” about the spread of the coronavirus increased from 67 percent between March 2 - 10 to 81 percent between March 11 - 16.

Other key survey findings:

- Pennsylvanians were divided on the work of the United States government in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, with 48 percent indicating the government is doing enough on this issue, and 40 percent stating the government is not doing enough.

During the time of the survey, there was an 8 percent increase, from 45 percent to 53 percent, among Pennsylvanians who think the U.S. government is doing enough to prevent the spread of the coronavirus between the early stages of survey, March 2 - 10, and later stages, March 11 - 16.

- Concern with the spread of the coronavirus was higher among Pennsylvania women in comparison with men. While 81 percent of women indicated they were either “very concerned” or “concerned” about the spread of coronavirus, only 64 percent of men did so.

- Democrats were significantly more likely than Republicans to report concerns with the spread of the coronavirus, with 82 percent of Pennsylvanian Democrats indicating concern about this issue compared to 58 percent of Republicans.

In addition, 75 percent of politically-independent Pennsylvanians expressed concern about the spread of coronavirus.

- There were significant differences in levels of concern regarding coronavirus among Pennsylvanians across age groups, with 20 percent of state residents between the ages of 18 and 29 “very concerned” about the spread of the virus, compared to 48 percent of Keystone State residents 65 and older.

The survey was in the field between March 2 and March 16 with the findings are drawn from the annual Muhlenberg College Public Health Program Survey of Pennsylvanians.

Full results of the survey are to be released, but given the timeliness of the questions and results concerning the coronavirus, a breakout report was released March 19.

The report contains results of a telephone survey of 420 adults in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania between March 2 - 16, 2020.

Respondents were interviewed in English on landlines (83) and cell phones (337).

With a randomly-selected sample of respondents, the margin of error for the survey is +/- 5.5 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence.

The survey instrument was designed by Christopher P. Borick, Director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion and Professor in the Public Health Program, in conjunction with students in the Public Health Program at Muhlenberg College.

Muhlenberg’s polling institute received an A+ in FiveThirtyEight’s latest Pollster Ratings released Nov. 5, 2019, one of only six in the U.S. to do so.

Borick, named a “gold-standard pollster” by CNN, has conducted more than 300 large-scale surveys measuring the public’s views on electoral, environmental and public policy issues.