WTOP coronavirus poll: Stimulus checks helping, hope comes from perspective

The arrival of federal coronavirus stimulus checks is making a difference in the lives of people according to a WTOP national poll conducted by Heart+Mind Strategies, but those who are feeling hopeful during the COVID-19 crisis aren’t seeing their conditions improve yet.

The online poll of 1,016 people was conducted between April 15 and April 16.

“We saw noted uptick in the number of Americans who said someone in their household has received a direct benefit — that’s 68%, which is an increase of 19 points over last week,” said Erin Norman, senior solutions consultant with the polling firm.

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“Almost two-thirds — 63% — say that’s at least a moderate amount of positive impact for them, with about half of that number saying there’s a great deal or a really significant positive impact from that federal benefit,” Norman said.

Republicans are most likely to say there has been at least a moderate positive impact to them directly from the federal stimulus (71%), followed by Democrats (61%), Norman said.

“The folks who are most skeptical here are the political independents — only one-half (51%) say they’ve gotten at least a moderate benefit from the stimulus,” she said.

On the issues of whether the country should focus on public health issues solely or include the nation’s economy in decision-making, there is a slight decrease in the number of who believe the U.S. should concentrate first and foremost on the public health aspect (46%, down 3 points).

“People are sort of inching toward the idea that we need to have a balance,” said Norman. “Over half of Republicans — 55% — say we need to balance health and economic concerns, and only 31% of Democrats believe that, and the difference between those two actually grew 10 points this week.”

As for the future, the number of Americans who feel hopeful has fallen slightly to 30%, down 2 points, Norman said.

“Among the people who say they’re hopeful, just 22% say it’s because they see conditions around them improving, and that’s actually down three points from last week,” Norman said. “Their hope comes from the time they’ve had to reflect on what’s important in their life — what they do have, or maybe what they’ve missed.”

The poll was an online quantitative survey. The surveyors say that if they were to estimate a margin of error, it would be +/- 3.1% at 95% confidence.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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