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CBS News poll finds less concern about new COVID variants now than with Omicron

Despite a recent rise in COVID cases and new variants, most Americans aren't concerned about getting COVID. In fact, the nation voices less concern than it ever has since the start of the pandemic.

There is less concern specifically about new variants today than there was about the Omicron variant as it was emerging in late 2021.


In this polling, conducted just before the announcement of FDA approval of new boosters, those concerned were also likelier to say they'll get a booster.

As has long been the case with the coronavirus, concern, attention and action are all connected: 40% report following news about the new variants at least somewhat closely, and those most concerned are following the news more. 

And views about COVID remain heavily partisan, as they've been for years. Democrats are relatively more concerned than Republicans today, and more likely to say they plan to get boosters in the fall. 

For context, as vaccines became available, polling showed similar splits consistently, and vaccine uptake for Democrats outpaced that for Republicans. (Studies also subsequently showed differing death rates in Republican-leaning counties.)


And in that line, Republicans are both the most pessimistic about the nation's efforts and also the least concerned, suggesting that some of the national evaluation is more of a partisan expression against the party in power than a clinical evaluation of the risk.

Overall, a slight majority of Americans are optimistic about the nation's efforts against the virus in the coming months. It's not overwhelming, and it's very partisan, with Democrats far more optimistic than Republicans. But it is more optimism than Americans show about other issues, like the economy or prices.


This CBS News/YouGov survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 2,335 U.S. adult residents interviewed between September 5-8, 2023. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey and Current Population Survey, as well as past vote. The margin of error is ±2.7 points.


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