U.S. voters stay involved about COVID-19: exit ballot

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© Reuters. 2020 U.S. presidential election in Oklahoma

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By Chris Kahn and James Oliphant

(Reuters) – Half of U.S. voters believe it is more important to contain the coronavirus even if it hurts the economy, according to an Edison Research poll on Tuesday.

While only two of 10 voters nationally said that COVID-19 was the issue that mattered most in their choice for president, the poll revealed deep concern about the pandemic that has infected more than 9.4 million people in the United States this year and killed more than 230,000.

Republican President Donald Trump has made the full opening of the U.S. economy a centerpiece of his re-election campaign, even as infections continue to rise. His Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, has claimed Trump is undeserving of a second term because of his handling of the pandemic.

In the national exit poll, four out of 10 voters said they think the effort to contain the virus is going “very badly.” In the battleground states of Florida and North Carolina, five of 10 voters said the national response to the pandemic is going “somewhat or very badly.”

Six of 10 said the pandemic had created at least a moderate financial hardship. And seven in 10 said wearing a face mask in public is a “public health responsibility” versus three in 10 who see it as a personal choice.

The poll is based on in-person interviews with voters on Tuesday, in-person interviews at early voting centers before Election Day and telephone interviews with people who voted by mail.

The poll found that nine out of 10 voters had already decided whom to vote for before October, and nine out of 10 voters said they were confident that their state would accurately count votes.

One of 10 voters said they were voting for the first time, which was similar to the 2016 election survey.

Other issues that were top of mind for voters included the economy, racial inequality, crime and safety and healthcare policy.

Edison compiles exit polls and live election results for the National Election Pool (NASDAQ:) media consortium.

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