NEW CALIFORNIA HEALTH CARE FOUNDATION POLL: One in five Californians know someone who has died of COVID-19
Published - 09/03/20 - 09:00 AM | 2197 views | 0 0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Nineteen percent of California residents say the COVID-19 death toll includes someone they know — and significant majorities of Californians say they “strongly support” stricter shelter-in-place rules to prevent more deaths, according to the latest tracking poll from the California Health Care Foundation and survey firm Ipsos. More than 180,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, including nearly 13,000 Californians.

Black and Latinx Californians are more likely than white Californians to know someone who has died of the virus, with 28% of Black residents and 29% of Latinx residents saying they know a COVID-19 victim. Black and Latinx people are dying at higher rates than their representation in the population. White Californians are significantly less likely to say they know someone who has died of COVID-19, with 10% saying they do. Twenty-six percent of Californians with low incomes (below 138% of the federal poverty level) say they know someone who died of COVID-19.

In the poll, conducted in English and Spanish from August 21 to 26, 69% of Californians agree that the state should impose stricter shelter-in-place rules “to curb the spread of coronavirus.” Black, Latinx, and Asian residents are significantly more likely to agree with stricter rules. Among Californians with low incomes, 78% agree the state should have stricter rules.

People who identify as “liberal” or “moderate” are much more likely to support stricter rules than those who identify as “conservative.”

"Californians are highly motivated to prevent future deaths from COVID-19, and large majorities are willing to make greater sacrifices to save lives,” says Kristof Stremikis, director of Market Analysis and Insight at the California Health Care Foundation. “One reason may be that so many Californians know someone who has died from virus."

CHCF and Ipsos found that support for stricter rules shifts slightly when those rules are linked to the following specific outcomes.

Preventing deaths:

  • 85% of Californians support stricter shelter-in-place rules if those rules would prevent deaths. Eighty-nine percent of Black residents, 85% of Asian residents, and 91% of Latinx residents would support stricter rules to prevent deaths.

  • The strength of support for stricter rules to prevent deaths varies significantly by race and political ideology: 75% of Black Californians “strongly support” stricter rules to prevent more deaths, for example, compared to 54% of white Californians. 

  • Similarly, 75% of self-identified liberal Californians “strongly support” stricter rules to prevent more deaths, compared to 40% of conservatives.

Reopening businesses: 

  • 80% of Californians support stricter rules if they would allow businesses to reopen sooner. 

  • 88% of Black Californians support stricter rules under this circumstance, along with 83% of Asian residents, 84% of Latinx residents, and 75% of white residents.

  • 27% of conservatives “strongly support” stricter shelter-in-place rules if it means businesses opening sooner, compared to 49% of liberals.

Reopening schools:

  • 72% of Californians support stricter rules if it would mean schools reopen sooner. 

  • Meanwhile, 76% of those with children ages 5 to 17 would support stricter rules in this case, with 47% of them expressing “strong support.”

  • 23% of conservatives “strongly support” stricter shelter-in-places rules if it means opening schools sooner, compared to 50% of liberals.


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