UT-Austin Poll: Texans’ COVID-19 concerns decreased as cases grew in the state

Coronavirus

Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, delivers remarks at a press conference on June 22, 2020, relating to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the state. He warned Texans that further measures might be taken to restrict the reopening process if citizens do not adhere to the guidelines outlined by the state. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new poll from the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas Austin reports that more than half of Texans surveyed were less concerned with the COVID-19 pandemic in their community as cases grew across the state in June.

The survey, conducted between June 19 and June 29, concluded the “overall decline in concern was evident in both attitudes and reported behaviors.”

The share of Texans who reported being “extremely” or “very” concerned about contracting the novel coronavirus decreased from 54% in April to 47% in June, according to the poll. However, 51% of Texans believe efforts to fight COVID-19 are going badly, compared to 29% of Texans that shared that belief in April. The amount of people who believe the efforts are going well dropped from 66% to 29%.

Data collection for this poll ended four days before Gov. Greg Abbott mandated face coverings in most public settings for Texas counties with more than 20 positive COVID-19 cases on July 3, but about 1 in 5 Texans reported they are not wearing a mask in public settings. 81% of Texans reported “wearing a mask when in close contact with people outside” their homes, the study says.

The survey also showed Texans were more willing to go out for non-essential activities. Texans who said they were only leaving their residence when they “absolutely” had to saw a dramatic decrease from 63% in April to 37% in June. 19% of people said they were living “normally” in June compared to 9% in April.

When Texans were asked to decide between fighting the pandemic and boosting the economy, more than half believed it is more important to slow the spread of COVID-19. The survey reports 53% think it is more important to try to control the spread of the coronavirus even if it hurts the economy. 38% said it was more important to help the economy even if it hurts efforts to control the spread of the virus.

The poll also concluded that Republicans as a group showed lower levels of concern about vulnerability to COVID-19 compared to Democrats and political independents.

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