Polling conducted from May 24th-26th by YouGov and Yahoo! News show more Americans view violent crime as a serious problem than do COVID-19. The numbers reflect that in July 2020, 61% of Americans described COVID-19 as a very big problem, compared to 32% in May 2021. Over the same period, those who described violent crime as a very big problem remained steady, moving from 48% to 49%.
When the same poll was conducted in July of 2020, 87% of Democrats viewed COVID-19 as a very big problem, compared to 35% of Republicans and 57% of independent voters. Another 10% of Democrats regarded it as a somewhat big problem. 36% of Republicans shared that opinion, along with 23% of independent voters.
10 months later, 47% of Democrats polled view COVID-19 as a very big problem, with another 40% seeing it as a somewhat big problem. Among Republicans, 17% believe COVID-19 is still a very big problem, with 30% at the somewhat level. Independent voter perception of the severity of COVID-19 as an issue also decreased, with 28% viewing it as very big and 28% as somewhat big.
In May of 2021, 56% of polled Republican voters viewed violent crime as a very big problem, alongside 50% of independent voters. These are both up from 51% among Republicans and 43% among independents in 2020. Another 32% of Republicans and 34% of independents view violent crime as a somewhat big issue. Among Democrats, 45% view violent crime as a very big problem, with 39% viewing it as a somewhat big problem. This represents a decrease among Democrats, where previously 47% had viewed violent crime as a very big problem, and 36% had seen it as somewhat big.
These changes come as America reopens, summer temperatures rise, and violent crime is increasing in cities across the country. The stark divergence between Democrats who are more concerned about COVID than Republicans and independents who view crime as more important than the pandemic may have a large impact on the 2022 midterms, now 18 months away.