Researchers asked thousands of Americans if more stimulus money is a necessary to make it through the Covid-19 pandemic. The majority said yes.
(CN) — Most Americans agree that another boost from the federal government is needed to help the country weather economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Support for another economic assistance package is split along party lines, but overall, 79% of adults in the U.S. say such a measure will be necessary, according to a new Pew Research Center study.
Researchers surveyed 5,360 adults between Jan. 8 and Jan. 12, just a few weeks after the most recent assistance package was approved.
Pew published the findings Tuesday — the day before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, who has already pledged to send more relief to families struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic.
According to Pew’s data, political party affiliations and affinities gave way to trends in support for more aid: Nearly two-thirds of Republicans, or 65%, said the measure is needed, compared with 92% of Democrats.
Adults with higher incomes, and particularly those who are Republican or Republican-leaning, were less likely to agree the aid is necessary. Among lower-income households, 88% of respondents called for additional financial aid.
Pew researchers pointed out that the level of support for another stimulus package “is nearly identical to the share of Americans” who wanted to see the $900 billion federal stimulus bill passed late last year.
Similarly, trends repeated among higher-income adults, and particularly high-income Republicans, who are less likely to say the aid is needed. Pew weighted its survey results to represent the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation and education.
The findings follow the long-awaited stimulus package signed in late December by President Donald Trump, which was first delayed by Trump’s refusal to accept the bipartisan deal.
In addition to giving Americans $600 checks, the stimulus includes funding for unemployment benefits, puts $82 billion toward education, funds broadband infrastructure and gives targeted aid to small businesses.
Directly funding the fight against Covid-19, the measure will also send much-needed help to states charged with handling vaccine distribution.
Greater vaccine distribution is among the steps required to control a new, more transmissible variant of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. The variant, first discovered in the U.K., is expected to become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March.
But even with a forthcoming $20 billion boost to states, the Trump administration’s decentralized game plan has received criticism from state health officials and medical experts making pleas for greater federal guidance.
“You can’t respond to a global pandemic, which is absolutely a national priority, with piecemeal, state-by-state responses,” said Dr. Benjamin Linas, an associate professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Medicine. “It’s bankrupt. It has no response to this crisis.”
President-elect Joe Biden called the vaccine rollout “a dismal failure so far.” Last week he announced a $1.9 trillion plan, which would allocate more money to getting vaccine doses into Americans’ arms.
Biden’s plan is also expected to send help to American families and workers who are struggling and send money toward reopening schools.
“In this economic downturn caused by the pandemic, we cannot let people go hungry, we cannot let people get evicted,” Biden said.
The plan also includes $1,400 stimulus checks — short of the $2,000 Biden and others called for, but an improvement from the $600 last handed out by the Trump administration.
“We simply can’t afford not to do it,” Biden said.
On Wall Street, Biden’s announcement did little to excite investors. But the plan to deliver a third stimulus package while the Covid-19 pandemic rages on has clear support among Americans, according to the new Pew report.
On the eve of his inauguration, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris spoke at a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial remembering those lost to the Covid-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, the U.S. surpassed 400,000 deaths from the virus.