The campaign to reopen the American economy may face a major stumbling block in the form of an extreme level of fear among Democrats of a second outbreak.
A new poll from CNBC of 5,408 likely voters in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—key swing states in the 2020 election—found a shocking level of fear on the part of Democrats that the U.S. is headed for a second wave of infections before the end of the year.
Ninety-nine percent of Democrats say there is at least a 50-50 chance of a second wave. Ninety-four percent say that a second wave will probably or definitely happen. Seventy-one percent of Democrats say the second wave will definitely happen.
Just 31 percent of independent voters think the second wave will definitely happen. Another 19 percent fall into the “probably camp,” for a combined 50 percent. Another 28 percent of independents give it a fifty-fifty chance.
Only 7 percent of Republicans said a second wave will definitely occur, 14 percent say it probably will occur, and 41 percent saying there’s a 50-50 chance. Thirty-eight percent said a second wave definitely or probably will not happen.
The stark partisan divide likely helps explain both Republican support for reopening the economy and Democratic resistance. But the high level of Democratic conviction that another outbreak will happen could become a drag on the economy if Democrats hold back on spending, investing, or prove reluctant to return to work.