May 4, 2020

How Do Americans See the Future?

New research shows Americans are weighing the economic impact of COVID-19 through overlapping but distinct party lenses.

The Glover Park Group hosted an in-depth conversation with Americans to explore how voters see the near future and how business can stay ahead of changing attitudes.

What we learned:

  • Americans give credit to companies and CEOs who have stepped up to the plate. But they’re watching closely to see if companies do the right thing for their employees.
  • Americans are cautious about reopening and are not willing to put their health on the line.
  • As voters tire of the political blame game, businesses can fill the gap by outlining practical steps for returning to normal that are rooted in safety and science.
  • As Americans consider the broader impact of the crisis, both Democrats and Republicans worry about education and mental health. But they look at the economic consequences through distinct lenses.

You can read more details in GPG’s full report, including detailed insights about what Americans expect of businesses and leaders as the nation continues to navigate the coronavirus crisis.

A Tale of Two Maps

How do states’ decisions to reopen echo voting patterns? It turns out many states’ responses are party-agnostic.

Using data compiled for our latest Back to Work report, we compared the latest reopening decisions to how states voted in 2016.

Generally, those states that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 remain heavily shut down or restricted during the pandemic, particularly on the coasts— with the exception of North Carolina and Maine. These states also tend to have large, highly urban populations that generally help the virus spread more quickly.

However, three states that went blue in 2016, and that are currently led by Democratic governors—specifically Colorado, Maine, and Minnesota—have relaxed stay-at-home orders and have begun partially reopening. Additionally, eight states that voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 have maintained their state shutdown status (three with Republican governors and five with Democrats).

COVID-19 By the Numbers

You Used to Call Me On My Cell Phone

As states begin employing thousands of people to form contact tracing armies, technology solutions are emerging here and around the world.

But tracing faces barriers to win Americans’ trust. GPG’s Research and Insights practice found deep unease towards technology-driven tracing based on mistrust towards institutions and concerns about data security that predate the pandemic.  Conversations about tracing quickly raise alarm about civil liberties and potential for discrimination. 

But given Americans’ concerns about their health and new questions about antibody testing and immunity, their discomfort with tracking technology could evolve.

As we’ve reported, Apple and Google are collaborating on an “exposure notification” system and have just released new details. It will start as an app and later be embedded into phone operating software.

Using encrypted keys and Bluetooth, the software will monitor who a phone comes into contact with at all times, so a confirmed patient’s phone can replace the interviewing process.

Some governments are rolling out tracking and tracing apps as well. Australia, Singapore and India have each made voluntary tech available to assist health workers, reducing the need for lengthy tracing interviews.

You can read about the latest public health measures to get America Back to Work in our landscape analysis, and attitudes towards them here.

A First for the First Saturday in May

For the first time in history, horse racing fans drank mint juleps and donned fancy hats exclusively at home. The Kentucky Derby was held virtually on Saturday.

Like so many other spring sporting events, the actual Derby was postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The main virtual event was a computer-simulated version of the race (#KyDerbyAtHome) featuring 13 past Triple Crown winners. Historical information about each horse was input into an algorithm. Secretariat, the favorite, ultimately emerged the victor.

NBC also ran a three-hour telecast featuring past races and expert perspectives, as fans participated in family-friendly activities like fascinator making.

Fans mourned the loss of tradition and the feeling of coming together with friends and family for the first day in May. But they were gratified the Virtual Derby gave them a new way of coming together. And for a purpose— Churchill Downs invited fans to donate to emergency relief efforts and pledged to match $1 million of them.

Notably, there was no traditional betting this year. Instead, fans picked a winning horse online, which entered them to win a VIP experience at the rescheduled race this fall (currently targeted for September 5).