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Axios-Ipsos poll: Finally, some optimism about COVID

Data: Axios/Ipsos survey; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

One in three Americans believe their physical and mental health will be better next year as more people say they plan to get the COVID vaccine as soon as it's available, in the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: In a year of unrelenting bad news and doom, the survey finally shows some hints of optimism about the pandemic — though it has yet to spread to the majority of Americans.

By the numbers: Roughly a third of poll respondents in Wave 34 of our weekly national poll said they expected 2021 to be better on several levels, including their physical health, their mental health, their emotional well-being, their home life and their personal finances.

  • That's far more than the number who said they expected 2021 to be worse in those areas.
  • In all cases, though, the majority said they expected 2021 to be about the same as 2020.

Between the lines: That doesn't necessarily mean the majority of Americans expect to personally suffer next year. Roughly eight out of 10 said their physical health is very or somewhat good right now, and about the same percentage said they were doing well with their mental health, emotional well being and home life.

  • The biggest sign of current stress is in personal finances: 76% said their finances are very or somewhat good, but 23% said their finances are very or somewhat poor.

More Americans say they plan to get the vaccine as soon as it's available, continuing a trend we've seen as headlines about the vaccine rollout dominate the news.

  • Overall, 33% said they'll get the vaccine as soon as it's available, up from 27% last week.
  • Some of the biggest increases came among young and older adults, with 48% of adults age 65 and older saying they'll get the shot as soon as it's available — up from 40% last week — and 29% of adults age 18-29 saying they'll get it as soon as available, up from 18% last week.
  • Democrats also are more eager to get the vaccine quickly — 43% now, compared to 31% last week — although they were always the most likely partisan group to want to get the shot as soon as available.
  • Republicans didn't show any movement this week, and independents increased slightly but within the margin of error.

Yes, but: Americans have grown more cautious about the holidays compared to our earlier surveys. For the first time, a majority — 53% — said they plan to celebrate at home with their immediate family, up from 46% two weeks ago.

  • By contrast, 16% said they'll see family and friends the way they usually do, while 10% said they plan to celebrate with a small group of people who will all self-isolate or quarantine together. 21% said they hadn't made any plans.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted Dec. 18-21 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,003 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.

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