A month ago, half of GOP voters said they were more worried about public health than the economy. Now, fewer than 2 in 5 say their concerns about the physical dangers of the virus outweigh their fears of a free-falling economy — a 13 percent drop. And the percentage of Republicans who said it was more important for the government to address the spread of the virus than the economy fell 22 points, from 65 percent to 43 percent, versus a 15-point drop overall.
The changes, documented by weekly POLITICO/Morning Consult polls, shows that the party base has moved largely in sync with President Donald Trump and Republican governors as they press to reopen the economy sooner rather than later. It hints at a self-reinforcing dynamic in which Republican voters take cues from Trump and GOP politicians, who in turn use that support to justify reopening faster despite warnings from public health officials.
But it also risks putting Trump and the GOP out of step with the majority of voters on the most urgent issue facing the country just months before the presidential election. Fifty-six percent of voters overall say they’re more concerned about public health than the economy, though that is a drop of 8 percentage points from April 10 to 12, when they were first asked.