It’s hard to overstate the extent to which the coronavirus pandemic has been saturated with partisan politics. Simple recommendations like wearing a face mask have been recast as acts of devout patriotism or as mandates for fealty to an insidious federal government. It’s a direct and indirect function of the president: Everything President Trump touches becomes partisan, both intentionally and not, and Trump’s got his hands all over the pandemic.
We are therefore no longer surprised when we see data like this, from a new poll conducted by CNN: Eighty-seven percent of those who plan to vote for former vice president Joe Biden are very or somewhat concerned about the pandemic. Seventy-one percent of Trump voters aren’t.
To some extent, this is also a function of how views of the pandemic first emerged. The first hot spots were in California, Washington and New York. In New York City in April, thousands of people were dying a day. The pandemic was centered in cities in blue states, and red state residents, particularly in rural areas, seemed less concerned about the virus.