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Understanding Health Polling: What Poll Questions Measure

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, polling related to health has been centered around the outbreak and its effects. Pollsters have explored people’s knowledge about the disease and its spread and treatment, the actions people have taken to protect themselves, their willingness to be vaccinated, their reasons for not following public health recommendations, their fears about the disease, their information sources and their experiences with illness, health care, and vaccination. Although the volume of polling about COVID-19 is unique to a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, the range of issues explored in these polls typifies the sorts of health questions to be found in iPoll on other topics. For example, polling questions can provide information on the following:



Example: Do you think the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live in the United States permanently, just temporarily, or not really changed it much at all?


Policy preferences

Example: In general, do you think…K through 12 schools should require students to get vaccinated for COVID-19 (coronavirus) unless they have a medical exemption, or not?


Example: How worried are you about you or someone in your family being infected with…the coronavirus?…Extremely worried, very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, not at all worried

Example: Are you worried about you or a family member getting HIV or AIDS?


Example: (Here are some things being discussed as possible priorities by President-Elect Joe Biden and the new Congress. For each one, please tell me whether or not you think it should be an extremely important priority.) How about…substantially expanding federal support for Covid-19 (coronavirus) testing, vaccinations, and personal protective equipment? Should that be an extremely important priority or not?


Example: (How much trust do you have in each of the following to provide you with accurate information about coronavirus or COVID-19?…A great deal, a fair amount, not very much, none at all)…Your state government

Ratings of public figures/institutions

Example: Please tell me if each of the following has done a good job or bad job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak….President (Joe) Biden


Example: Because of the coronavirus pandemic, how often are you…avoiding other people as much as possible?…Always, often, sometimes, rarely, never


Example: Have you personally been tested for the coronavirus?


Example: As far as you know, have the number of new Covid (coronavirus) cases in the country increased, decreased, or stayed about the same over the past few weeks?