Public Support for Social Safety-Net Policies for COVID-19 in the United States

Objectives. To examine public support for health insurance, income support, and unemployment policies during the initial phase of disease transmission and economic distress following the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak and to assess varying public support based on beliefs about the role of government.

Methods. We fielded a nationally representative survey of US adults (n = 1468) from April 7, 2020, to April 13, 2020.

Results. Of US adults, 77% supported paid sick leave, and a majority also supported universal health insurance, an increased minimum wage, and various unemployment support policies. Public support for an active government role in society to improve citizens’ lives increased by 10 percentage points during this initial pandemic response relative to September 2019. Belief in a strong governmental role in society was associated with greater support for social safety-net policies.

Conclusions. During the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in early April 2020, most US adults favored a range of safety-net policies to ameliorate its negative health and economic consequences. For most safety-net policies, public support was highest among those favoring a stronger governmental role in society.


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