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Counties With Worst COVID-19 Surges Overwhelmingly Voted For Trump

U.S. voters went to the polls starkly divided on how they see President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, with a stunning twist: In locations the place the virus is most rampant now, Trump loved huge help.

An Associated Press evaluation reveals that in 376 counties with the best variety of new circumstances per capita, the overwhelming majority — 93% of these counties — went for Trump, a price above different much less severely hit areas. Most had been rural areas within the Dakotas, Montana, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Taking be aware of the distinction, state well being officers are pausing for a second of introspection. Even as they fear about rising numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, they hope to reframe their messages and goal for a reset on public sentiment now that the election is over.

“Public health officials need to step back, listen to and understand the people who aren’t taking the same stance” on mask-wearing and different management measures, stated Dr. Marcus Plescia of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

“I think there’s the potential for things to get less charged and divisive,” he stated, including that there’s an opportunity a retooled public well being message may unify Americans round decreasing case counts so hospitals received’t get swamped through the winter months.

The AP’s evaluation was restricted to counties by which no less than 95% of precincts had reported outcomes, and grouped counties into six classes based mostly on the charges of COVID-19 circumstances they’d skilled per 100,000 residents.

Polling, too, exhibits voters who break up on Republican Trump vs. Democrat Joe Biden differed on whether or not the pandemic is below management.

Thirty-six p.c of Trump voters described the pandemic as fully or principally below management, and one other 47% stated it was considerably below management, in line with AP VoteCast, a nationwide survey of greater than 110,000 voters performed for the AP by NORC on the University of Chicago. Meanwhile, 82% of Biden voters stated the pandemic is by no means below management.

The pandemic was thought-about no less than considerably below management by slim majorities of voters in lots of purple states, together with Alabama (60%), Missouri ( 54%), Mississippi (58%), Kentucky (55%), Texas (55%), Tennessee (56%) and South Carolina (56%).

In Wisconsin, the place the virus surged simply earlier than the election, 57% stated the pandemic was not below management. In Washington state, the place the virus is extra in management now in comparison with earlier within the yr, 55% stated the identical. Voters in New York and New Hampshire, the place the virus is extra managed now after early surges, had been roughly divided of their assessments, much like voters nationwide.

Trump voters interviewed by AP reporters stated they worth particular person freedom and believed the president was doing in addition to anybody might in response to the coronavirus.

Michaela Lane, a 25-year-old Republican, dropped her poll off final week at a polling web site at an out of doors mall in Phoenix. She forged her vote for Trump.

“I feel like the most important issue facing the country as a whole is liberty at large,” Lane stated. “Infringing on people’s freedom, government overrule, government overreach, chaos in a lot of issues currently going on and just giving people back their rights.”

About half of Trump voters known as the financial system and jobs the highest subject dealing with the nation, roughly twice the proportion who named the pandemic, in line with VoteCast. By distinction, a majority of Biden voters — about 6 in 10 — stated the pandemic was an important subject.

In Madison, Wisconsin, Eric Engstrom, a 31-year-old funding analyst and his spouse, Gwen, voted absentee by mail in early October.

Trump’s failure to regulate the pandemic sealed his vote for Biden, Engstrom stated, calling the coronavirus essentially the most instant risk the nation faces. He and his spouse predict their first baby, a lady, in January and worry “the potential of one of us or both of us being sick when the baby is born,” he stated.

Engstrom known as Trump’s response to the virus abysmal. “If there was any chance that I was going to vote for Trump, it was eliminated because of the pandemic,” he stated.

The political temperature has added to the stress of public well being officers, Plescia stated. “Our biggest concern is how long can they sustain this pace?” he stated.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 74 state and native public well being officers in 31 states have resigned, retired or been fired, in line with an ongoing evaluation by AP and Kaiser Health News.

As the election temper dissipates, rising hospitalizations amid colder climate create “a really pivotal moment” within the pandemic, stated Sema Sgaier, government director of the Surgo Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that labored with Harvard University well being consultants to develop a device for estimating vaccine wants in states.

“We really need to get our act together. When I say ‘we’ I mean collectively,” Sgaier stated. Finding widespread floor could turn into simpler if certainly one of extra of the vaccine candidates proves secure and efficient and positive factors authorities approval, she stated.

“The vaccine provides the reset button,” Sgaier stated.

Dr. Anthony Fauci could also be one other unifying drive. According to VoteCast, 73% of voters nationwide approve of the way in which Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been dealing with the pandemic.

Even amongst Trump voters, 53% approve of Fauci’s efficiency. About 9 in 10 Biden voters approve.

Johnson reported from Washington state. Deshpande reported from Chicago and Fingerhut reported from Washington, D.C. AP reporters Todd Richmond in Madison, Wisconsin, and Terry Tang in Phoenix contributed.

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