Health-care workers overwhelmingly supported Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, but they are dissatisfied with how he has handled the pandemic since then.
In a poll, more than 1,000 health-care workers said they voted for Biden over Donald Trump by a margin of 52 percent to 31 percent, but they are now divided on how the Biden administration has handled the pandemic: 41 percent approve, 40 percent disapprove.
Among Biden supporters, 69 percent approve of his work on COVID, 14 percent disapprove, and 17 percent are unsure. Surprisingly, only 6% of Trump supporters approve, while 83% oppose. “I think them going back and forth really lost a lot of faith from the people,” Shannon Jackson, 38, an optometrist from Washington, Georgia, said of the Biden team’s and the Centers for Disease Control’s changing recommendations. “People don’t seem to believe what they’re saying anymore, in my opinion. I know I don’t believe what they’re saying any longer.”
Ronald Rosenthal, 70, a consulting psychologist in Miami who was among those polled, praised the Biden White House for doing “a very good job” in dealing with the pandemic, but he added that dealing with state and local officials had been difficult for policymakers. “Overall, I have to say that I was somewhat disappointed in the United States’ response to this because it has been so highly politicized.”
Two-thirds of those polled, 68 percent, believe politics has made their jobs more difficult.
Other findings from the new poll of 1,170 healthcare workers conducted by Ipsos’ online probability-based KnowledgePanel are listed below. The margin of error for the survey is 3.8 percentage points.
They’ve been on the front lines of the world’s worst pandemic in more than a century, and health-care workers are very proud of themselves. Who could blame them, given the difficulties they’ve encountered?
An overwhelming 94 percent believe that American health-care workers “did an incredible job” during the pandemic. Only 2% of people disagree. Doctors and dentists were among those polled, as were registered nurses and practical nurses, technicians who operate diagnostic machines and those who work in laboratories, occupational and physical therapy aides, pharmacists and dental hygienists, and even a few veterinarians.
The pandemic’s broad reach is made all the more remarkable by the variety of jobs it affects.
Two-thirds of those polled have treated or assisted a COVID patient. Almost half of those employees have cared for a COVID patient who died. Eighty-one percent of that group has treated COVID patients who were not vaccinated.
Health care workers who have treated unvaccinated patients are more likely to hear defiance about the vaccine from them (67%) than regret about not getting it (38 percent). Almost a third of these workers report that unvaccinated patients or their families have complained about the medical care they are providing.
The unvaccinated patients have had their own ideas. One-quarter (26%) of these workers have been asked for unproven treatments like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, drugs that have gotten a lot of attention on social media but haven’t been proven to help in clinical trials.
Health-care workers support the federal government playing a significant role in combating COVID-19. Eighty-five percent support the federal government providing N95 masks to anyone who requests them through pharmacies and health clinics, and 83 percent support mailing free at-home COVID-19 tests to anyone who requests them.
Almost eight out of ten people support sending the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to work with hospitals to increase bed capacity, as well as deploying military health personnel to assist hospitals.
Employees give their bosses high marks for how they respond to medical emergencies; three out of four are pleased with how their bosses have handled the situation. However, they claim to have fallen short in some areas.
Fifty-seven percent believe employees who work in high-risk situations should be compensated more, and 44 percent believe all employees need more mental health support.