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Americans ‘worn out’ and ‘angry’ about impact of Covid on their lives

Our frustrations have begun coloring how we feel about our political leaders' handling of the pandemic.

(CN) — A majority of Americans feel worn out out by the continuing impact the Covid pandemic is having on their lives and nearly half feel angry about it, according to a new Monmouth University poll.

The nationwide poll of 808 adults conducted by telephone from Dec. 2-6 also showed fewer Americans think President Joe Biden and other political leaders are doing a good job handling the pandemic. Only 46% believe Biden is doing a good job dealing with the crisis compared with 53% in November, and 50% said their state's governor is doing a good job compared with 60% a month ago.

Covid cases in most states have begun to rise again after falling from the September spike linked to the delta variant. The new, reportedly very contagious omicron variant is now seen spreading across the country, raising concerns about a new wave of cases this winter and prompting new public health mandates.

Sixty percent of Americans feel either worn out a lot or a little by pandemic-related changes to their daily lives over the past 20 months, according to the poll. Forty-five percent feel angry, either a little or a lot, about how Covid has affected their daily lives, which goes up to 63% among Republicans. Only 34% of Democrats said they feel angry.

“The fact that Americans say they have had enough should be no surprise," Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a statement Wednesday. "Every time we try to adjust to a new normal, another variant pops up to put us on guard again. This perpetual unease is having an impact on how we view those charged with handling the pandemic.”

Democrats, Republicans and independents have a dimmer view of Biden's handling of the pandemic, but the drop is most pronounced among independents with only 38% saying he's doing a good job — down from 50% in November. Equally worrying for the president is that approval of his handling of the pandemic dropped in the states he won in the 2020 election, with 47% of respondents in those states saying he's doing a good job, down from 60% last month.

“We just came out of an off-year election in Virginia and New Jersey where blue states did not look so blue," Murray said. "The failure to get Covid under control may be playing a role there, especially for independent voters, in a growing sense of frustration with the party in power."

The poll also showed that as Americans feel exasperated with the pandemic, support for instituting or re-instituting face mask and social distancing guidelines in their state has fallen to 55%, from as high as 63% in September. Similarly, support for requiring proof of vaccination in the workplace and other settings has fallen to 46%, from 53% in September.

The omicron variant has already spread to most states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scientists don't yet know if it is more contagious than the delta variant, according to the CDC. They also don't know if omicron causes more severe illness than other variants, in particular regarding reinfections or breakthrough infections. However, "current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the omicron variant," the CDC said in a post to its website Tuesday.

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