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Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans' hopes rise after a year of COVID

Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Note: Margin of error for the entire sample is ±3.1%; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

During the last year, Americans have felt stressed out and worried about the coronavirus — but now more say they're hopeful as the vaccines become available, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: Americans finally see some light at the end of the tunnel as we approach the one-year anniversary of the national emergency over the pandemic — a year that has been full of misery, mental anguish, and sickness and death here and around the world.

By the numbers: Our survey found that the negative emotions dominated over the last year. 41% of respondents said "stressed/worried" were the words that best described their mood during that time, with an equal percentage saying they were "frustrated."

  • 26% said they felt "overwhelmed/burned out," while 19% chose "angry," 16% saying they were "sad" and 16% saying they were "discouraged."

Now, 48% said they are "hopeful" — up from 20% who said they felt that way during the past year.

  • The negative emotions are still there, but they're less prevalent than during the past year. 20% say they're stressed or worried now, 20% say they're frustrated, and 15% say they're overwhelmed or burned out. (People were able to choose up to three answers.)
  • The people who are most hopeful now are those 65 and older (64%), Democrats (59%), and people who have gotten the vaccine (61%).

"People are starting to see that maybe there's an end in sight, that there's something to look forward to finally," said Chris Jackson, senior vice president for Ipsos Public Affairs.

  • That change in mood comes as the share of vaccinated Americans slowly rises. This week, 23% of respondents said they had gotten the vaccine — up from 19% last week, and a big jump from the 3% who said they had received the vaccine in our Jan. 11 poll, the first one with a measurable result.
  • There has also been a small increase in the share of people who think they can get back to something resembling their normal, pre-COVID life in six months or less: 33% now, up from 26% in last week's poll.
  • "I think there is this slight movement of people expecting it to be over sooner rather than later," Jackson said.

Of note: The poll found that Americans overwhelmingly want teachers to get vaccinated, with 75% saying it's very or somewhat important for teachers to receive both doses before coming back to school to teach kids in person.

What to watch: People are still figuring out what's the best sign that the pandemic is ending and the restrictions can be lifted, but the biggest group — 27% — said it will be when 75% of Americans or more are vaccinated.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted Feb. 26-March 1 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,088 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.

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