While the majority disagree with the protesters message, 83% support their right to protest
April 29, 2020, Los Angeles, CA —SoapBoxSample released new data today about Americans’ views of the anti-quarantine demonstrations that took place in recent weeks across more than a dozen states in the U.S. The protests that were held in places such as California, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, sparked a range of emotions among U.S. citizens. As part of their ongoing research initiative to measure the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of Americans, SoapBoxSample polled 400 U.S. residents from across the nation on April 22, 2020. The data revealed that while the majority (62%) disagree with the protesters’ messages, 83% support their right to demonstrate.
The government’s handling of the COVID-19 response is shaping up to be one of the most divisive issues in American politics. Survey data from the Pew Research Center gathered prior to the COVID-19 outbreak (January of 2020) revealed climate change and gun control to be the top two issues that the American public is most divided on. Six out of ten Americans are in agreement with the statement that climate change is a major threat, and six out of ten Americans are in favor of stricter gun control. The preliminary, quick turnaround, survey data from SoapBoxSample showing that Americans’ sentiments about the protests are split by the same ratio (six out of ten) indicates that the question of when to reopen the economy may be among the most divisive topics in American politics today.
“We’ve seen an unprecedented swell of emotion from the people who participate in our research studies,” said Jacqueline Rosales, SoapBoxSample COO. “While we won’t know for quite some time if the government response to the COVID-19 outbreak was effective, we can say with certainty that the American public is passionately divided on this issue, and the repercussions from this disagreement is likely to have a long-lasting impact on the American political scene.”
To further understand American’s perceptions of the protester’s intentions, SoapBoxSample asked survey participants about what they believe to be the demonstrators’ primary message. The top three causes Americans cited as the protesters’ source of discontent include: because they want to get back to work (70%), they want their individual state economy to reopen (64%), and they believe the social distancing guidelines infringe on their rights as American citizens (52%). Additionally, SoapBoxSample asked respondents about their attitudes toward the protesters themselves. A vast majority (79%) agreed with the statement that protesters are putting themselves and others in danger, and 70% agreed with the statement that protesters are wrong and should follow government guidelines like everyone else.
Americans on both sides of the issue expressed a range of emotions in response to the question – Why do you agree/disagree with the protesters? One study participant in agreement with the protests said, “The cure is worse than the problem at this point and more people are being hurt not being able to work and losing everything they have.” Another study participant who strongly disagreed with the protests exclaimed, “THEY ARE STUPID!!!!! 45000 people are dead, more are dying daily. You open up the economy and potentially hundreds of THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WILL DIE. And the healthcare workers and frontline workers suffer THE MOST!” While emotions on the topic of protests runs high, 98% said they have not participated in protests and don’t plan to.