Polarized Perspectives on Health Equity: Results from a Nationally Representative Survey on US Public Perceptions of COVID-19 Disparities in 2023

Sarah E. Gollust, Chloe Gansen, Erika Franklin Fowler, Steven T. Moore, Rebekah H. Nagler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Republicans and Democrats responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in starkly different ways, from their attitudes in 2020 about whether the virus posed a threat to whether the pandemic ended in 2023. The consequences of COVID-19 for health equity have been a central concern in public health, and the concept of health equity has also been beset by partisan polarization. In this article, the authors present and discuss nationally representative survey data from 2023 on US public perceptions of disparities in COVID-19 mortality (building on a previous multiwave survey effort) as well as causal attributions for racial disparities, the contribution of structural racism, and broader attitudes about public health authority. The authors find anticipated gulfs in perspectives between Democrats on the one hand and independents and Republicans on the other. The results offer a somewhat pessimistic view of the likelihood of finding common ground in how the general public understands health inequities or the role of structural racism in perpetuating them. However, the authors show that those who acknowledge racial disparities in COVID-19 are more likely to support state public health authority to act in response to other infectious disease threats. The authors explore the implications of these public opinion data for advocacy, communication, and future needed research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-427
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of health politics, policy and law
Volume49
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by Duke University Press.

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • health equity
  • public opinion
  • racial disparities
  • structural racism

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Polarized Perspectives on Health Equity: Results from a Nationally Representative Survey on US Public Perceptions of COVID-19 Disparities in 2023'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this