This 3-minute, 25-second video provides a synopsis of a rapid response study assessing the level of mistrust Pennsylvanians might have for pandemic safety policies announced by “elites” or politicians of another party.

A study on the attitudes of Pennsylvania residents about COVID-19 safety policies found no reduced support for social distancing policies when advocated by elites, and no backlash for a policy described as backed by public health experts.

The work by LDI Senior Fellow and Political Science Professor at Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences Daniel Hopkins, PhD, and colleague Syon Bhnot, PhD, MPP, of Swarthmore College was funded by one of thirteen COVID-19  Rapid Response Grants awarded in early May by the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI).

Daniel Hopkins, PhD, LDI Senior Fellow

Resistance to safety advice

The Hopkins study looked at the potential concern that substantial numbers of individuals might be inclined to only support disruptive pandemic safety policies that were recommended by same-party politicians, or would resist safety advice from ‘elite’ sources such as government officials or public health experts.

While the survey of 2,000 Pennsylvanians did document partisan differences in views on several pandemic-related policies, it also found strong support for social distancing and high trust in medical experts.

The LDI grant program was designed to support rapid turnaround research focused on population health, health care, and system delivery issues needed to understand and address the current COVID-19 pandemic or improve responses to future infectious disease outbreaks, particularly related to disparities and underserved populations.