LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 30: Karina Lewis of Nevada swabs the inside of her nose as she takes a coronavirus (COVID-19) test during a preview of a testing site at the Stan Fulton - International Gaming Institute Building at UNLV on November 30, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The state set its two highest single-day COVID-19 case records and surpassed 150,000 total cases last week. Nevada has seen a sharp upward climb in the test positivity rate since the end of October, which has now grown to more than 17 percent. Clark County and University Medical Center of Southern Nevada are operating the new site, which has separate areas for people who arrive with and without symptoms of COVID-19, in partnership with the Nevada National Guard and University Police Services. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

A Political IQ survey found that 68% of voters nationwide now believe the worst of the coronavirus is still to come. That’s up six points from two weeks ago, up 12 points from two months ago, and the highest level of pessimism measured all year.

The previous high-water mark for pessimism was recorded in July.

In July, however, just 15% thought the worst was behind us. That figure is 18% today.

Much of the increase in pessimism can be attributed to Republicans. In mid-October, 41% of GOP voters thought the worst was behind us while just 33% held a more pessimistic view. Those numbers slipped a bit in the week following the election. Now, just 24% of Republicans believe the worst is behind us while 62% believe the worst is still to come.

That collapse in confidence likely results from the fact that Republicans have consistently seen the economic threat from the pandemic as greater than the health threat. And, they overwhelmingly supported President Trump’s focus on re-opening the economy. With the election of a president from the opposing party, it is fairly typical to see such a switch from optimism to pessimism.

What is a bit surprising is the fact that there has been little or no increase in optimism among Democrats since the election. Just 13% of those in President-elect Biden’s party believe the worst is behind us while 78% believe the worst is yet to come.

The table below highlights selected results showing trends over the past few months. 


The survey of 1,200 Registered Voters was conducted by Scott Rasmussen from November 27-28, 2020. Field work for the survey was conducted by RMG Research, Inc. Respondents were contacted online or via text. They were selected from a list of Registered Voters and through a process of Random Digital Engagement. Certain quotas were applied and the sample was lightly weighted by geography, gender, age, race, education, and political party to reasonably reflect the nation’s population of Registered Voters. Other variables were reviewed to ensure that the final sample is representative of that population.

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