xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Anne Arundel Community College survey finds partisan divide in judgment of coronavirus response

A survey of 448 Anne Arundel residents released Friday shows an eight-year low in approval of the direction the county is headed, likely driven by frustration over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Just 41% of county residents surveyed by Anne Arundel Community College said the county was headed in the right direction, a sharp drop from spring when that figure was 59%. Dan Nataf, long-time director of the now-defunct Center for the Study of Local Issues and author of the survey report, said the perception of the severity of the coronavirus varies, and that variation affects the perception of government performance.

Advertisement

“Six months later people are experiencing coronavirus fatigue,” he said. “It is then frustrating that more hasn’t been done in accordance with the priorities people have, which they didn’t have so clearly in mind six months ago.”

People who worry about the coronavirus largely approve of restrictions, but those who aren’t as concerned deeply dislike the pace of reopening and restrictions limiting gatherings.

Advertisement

“In Anne Arundel County there’s a fairly large consensus it is here, it is a danger, I know people who have gotten sick, I know people who have died, and I’m willing to take precautions,” Nataf said.

The drop in respondents who said the county was going in the right direction was steepest among Republicans, where it fell from 49% to 32%. Among Democrats, it fell from 64% to 54%.

“The situation with the county takes on a pretty sharp partisan bent,” Nataf said. “Republicans believe reopening could be faster. Liberals think exactly the opposite.”

A similar dip was seen at the state level, as well. This spring 70% of respondents thought the state was going in the right direction, versus 50% this fall.

Anne Arundel County’s decision to close bars at 10 p.m. was “about right” according to 52% of respondents, too fast for 22% and too slow for another 22%. Nataf said Republicans were more likely to say the action was too strict, while Democrats were more likely to say the action wasn’t strict enough.

“Almost half of Republicans felt that these measures were ‘about right’ pointing to a general agreement about the overall pace despite the polarization at either end,” Nataf wrote in his report.

The survey also asked people about their experiences with COVID-19. One in five said they knew someone who died from the illness. About 2% said they had contracted the virus.

The college also asked about the upcoming presidential election.

People who voted for neither Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in 2016 seem to be gravitating to Joe Biden, Nataf said. Overall 49% said they would vote for Biden, and 40% said they would vote for Trump.

People were also asked about the importance of various issues, and ranked climate change, access to opioids, coronavirus and pollution as top concerns. The number of people who said hate crimes were an issue increased from 12% to 33% between the spring and fall surveys, and racism was seen as a larger problem nationally than locally in Anne Arundel.

In regard to nationwide Black Lives Matter protests this summer, 68% said the protests were completely or mostly justified, and 52% said Trump’s response to the situation was “mostly harmful.” However, only 6% of respondents thought the protests would lead to long-term change.

The survey was conducted online between Oct. 9 and Oct. 16.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement