America’s polarization continues to increase by the day. Political and economic divides among Democrats and Republicans predate the pandemic, but lockdowns are now catalyzing new divides and exacerbating old ones.
Before diving into the new survey, generally speaking, Midwest and Southeast states are dominated by Republican governors. Notice how most of the partial reopenings are happening in red states?
Notice any similarities?
CNBC/Change Research Poll surveyed 3,544 voters in early May in key election battleground states, including Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, revealed 68% were “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the virus. This share of respondents fell from 76% from a similar poll that was taken mid-April.
Here’s where the partisan split appears: “Only 39% of Republicans said they had at least somewhat serious concerns about the coronavirus disease, down from 55% last month. At the same time, 97% of Democrats said they had significant worries, nearly identical to the 98% share in mid-April.”
The survey underscores the partisan view of how a majority of Republicans want to see the reopening of the economy while a majority of Democrats want it to be closed. Again, this is a new divide that has developed in the last month. The split is also seen on a county to the state level, where Republican governors, senators, and congressmen/women are reopening their economies. At the same time, Democratic lawmakers were more obliged to continue lockdowns.
Respondents’ precautions and worries about reopening also reflected a partisan divide. About 12% of Democratic voters believe the pandemic is subsiding, versus 66% who say it is getting worse. As for Republicans, 69% said the virus crisis is abating, while 19% said things are still getting more serious.
When it came to practicing good hygiene, respondents from both political parties overwhelmingly said they were washing their hands. But there was a huge split, 96% of Democrats and 67% of Republicans said they were engaging in social distancing. About 95% of Democrats and 61% of Republicans said they were avoiding crowds. When it came to sheltering at home, 87% of Democrats said they were currently doing that while 43% of Republicans answered yes. Notice a trend? Again, a massive divide between both political parties.
While Republicans are itching to reopen the economy and say pretty much everything is safe except for using airplanes, public transportation, and sporting events, Democrats countered by saying everything is unsafe.
Drilling into the divide some more…
About 71% of respondents said the economy is headed into a recession, including most Democrats (89%) and about half of Republicans.
At least half of the battleground voters who participated in the poll said at least someone in their household experienced a job loss or been furloughed or experienced a reduction in pay because of the virus-related shutdowns.
Another divide is how relief money is distributed into the economy. About half of Republicans agree that elites and mega-corporations should get bailed out while only 37% of Democrats agree. About 37% of Democrats believe more funds should be directed at the middle class and small businesses while 21% of Republicans believe so. Equally splitting the money up between big corporations and households saw 24% of Republicans say yes and only 8% of Democrats say yes.
Both political parties remain divided on direct payments to households.
The survey provides more evidence that Americans are becoming more polarized than ever. The polarization of the reopening of the economy is split between Republicans who say let’s reopen America and Democrats who say not yet because it could spark a second coronavirus wave.
Richard Bernstein Advisors tweeted a chart via Cornerstone Macro that details how 25 of the “green” states that have reopened, about 10 have increasing cases and 3 appear to have “budding increases. It’s pretty clear a 2nd wave is becoming the #1 risk that no one is talking about.”
Of the 25 “green” states, 10 have increasing #COVID19 cases and 3 appear to have budding increases. It’s pretty clear a 2nd wave is becoming the #1 risk that no one is talking about.
(Chart: @csm_research) pic.twitter.com/cttl7duMfK
— Richard Bernstein (@RBAdvisors) May 5, 2020
It does not matter which political party, lockdowns have decimated the middle class, with more than 30 million unemployed in six weeks. Trump supporters have been the most vocal about the economic crash with protests at state capitol buildings, demanding state officials to reopen local economies. Militia members have been seen at several of these government buildings, wielding assault-style weapons and bulletproof vests, a move that is a show of force. Society is disintegrating as a massive tug of war between one political party and the other unfolds in 2020.
And maybe the goal of lockdowns was to transform America, literally overnight, into a welfare state, where tens of millions of people rely on the government for UBI checks, food, and are paid to stay unemployed. Elites, such as Bill Gates, have mysteriously risen to the top, projecting plans of a surveillance state and vaccines that will rescue us all.
The stay-at-home orders were initially to flatten the pandemic curve. Now it appears to be a form of control over the masses. People are rising up, irritated by big government, and how it has crushed their lives and destroyed any economic prosperity, they had left.
The irony here is that flip-flop Democrats (Nancy Pelosi and the elite Democratic politicians in New York) were all proclaiming earlier this year that President Trump was fearmongering about the virus while they told people to go outside and enjoy life. Now, as the president attempts to reopen the crashed economy, Democrats are the ones preventing it from reopening.
As a reminder, it is not only until a vaccine or highly effective treatment to eliminate new cases that states like Illinois will fully reopen its economy, which suggests some form of lockdowns could persist through the second half of the year as America becomes more polarized than ever.
So, with a pandemic, crashed economy, deep polarization, record unemployment, and food shortages — it appears America is headed for social turmoil.