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Roper COVID-19 Data Update

June 01, 2020

Roper Center’s rapidly growing collection of public opinion data on COVID-19 now includes studies from 44 organizations, including global, U.S. national, and U.S. state-level data. The collection holds over 90 studies representing nearly 100,000 respondents, with over 40 datasets freely available.

More than 2,000 US national polling questions from the Longstanding Methods collection offer an overview of the polling response to the pandemic. The first question, from NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist, was fielded at the end of January.

Covid concerns


The number of questions skyrocketed the week ending 3/15/2020 and peaked at more than double the week ending April 5, as stay-at-home orders were implemented in multiple states.

Volume of COVID Questions

Coronavirus questions in the iPoll database have focused primarily on attitudes about policies, expectations for the future, and perceptions of the outbreak. However, a substantial number of questions have measured the experiences and especially the behaviors of Americans to determine how the virus has affected people’s lives and whether they are following public health recommendations on social distancing and hygiene. The behavior/experiences category makes up a greater proportion of the COVID-19 set than of Roper iPoll questions overall, roughly twice as large a percentage of total questions. COVID-19 questions about personal characteristics of respondents or their households and knowledge or awareness assessments represent about the same proportions as these categories in the overall collection.

While all COVID-19 questions are considered part of the Roper iPoll “Health” topic, most have additional topic tags, indicating the range of issues touched by the pandemic. Nearly a third of questions focused on economics and about a fifth on government. Only about a tenth asked about social interactions.

COVID Attitudes

Some specific subject areas that historically have been relatively “underpolled” have been carefully followed during the pandemic. For example, tracking polls from Kaiser Family Foundation and Axios/Ipsos have asked respondents to assess the effect of COVID-19 on their mental health. However, some possible polling topics have not yet been explored in these polls, including reactions to anti-mask protests and perceptions of discrimination or prejudice against Asians and Americans of Asian descent.

To explore COVID-19 questions in Roper iPoll, please use the COVID-19 Topic search.

To explore historical questions on American responses to earlier infectious disease outbreak, such as SARS, please use the Viral Outbreaks/Influenza Topic search.

Free datasets on COVID-19 and other resources are available on Roper Center’s COVID-19 Resources page.