NEWS AND OPINION:
Alarming accounts about coronavirus are many, and the messages are mixed. It is an emotionally charged issue in the U.S. as citizens weigh their own needs against those now under siege from the virus. It’s complicated, and not without partisan divides.
A hefty majority of Americans — 65% — say the U.S. government should “quarantine people in the United States who have recently been to China”; 77% of Republicans, 58% of independents and 64% of Democrats agree — along with 65% of both women and men.
Are Americans worried? Not so much. The survey found that 39% overall said they were worried; that includes 31% of Republicans, 39% of independents, 44% of Democrats, 35% of women and 42% of men.
Another 56% overall, however, also agree that the federal government should “spend money on fighting contagious diseases in foreign countries”; 47% of Republicans, 44% of independents and 65% of Democrats agree — along with 51% of women and 52% of men.
Still, 51% of respondents now say that the government should deny entry to any “foreigner” who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it is now known; 60% of Republicans, 50% of independents and 46% of Democrats agree — along with 50% of women and 53% of men.
Most — 46% — say the U.S. has a responsibility to help fight infectious disease in a foreign country; 39% of Republicans, 39% of independents and 61% of Democrats agree — along with 44% of women and 48% of men.
On home turf, a big majority of voters overall — 67% — say U.S. employers should require workers who have recently been to China to stay at home for two weeks. Those who agree; 78% of Republicans, 60% of independents and 67% of Democrats agree — along with 68% of women and 66% of men.
The source is an Economist/YouGov poll of 1,300 registered U.S. voters conducted Feb. 2-4 and released Monday. The same poll, incidentally, also reveals that Americans say the Republican Party is far more unified than the Democratic Party. Find details in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.
AOC GETS A CHALLENGE
It’s being billed as MCC vs. AOC. Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a CNBC correspondent and anchor for 20 years, has launched a challenge in the Democratic primary against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. She will be the 15th candidate to campaign against the outspoken freshman lawmaker, who is currently on the road helping Sen. Bernard Sanders with his bid for the White House.
“According to a filing late Monday, she will run as a Democrat in that party’s primary in the 14th District,” CNBC said in a new report. “Caruso-Cabrera is known to be a skeptic of government and a proponent of free markets. In 2010, she published a book called ‘You Know I’m Right: More Prosperity, Less Government.’ She has been a registered Democrat for several years.”
She left her role as a full-time CNBC anchor and became a contributor in 2018, and also served as a member of the board of directors for financial services firm Beneficient. She will take a leave from her current role as CNBC contributor for the duration of the campaign, the network said.
“I am the daughter and granddaughter of working-class Italian and Cuban immigrants,” Ms. Caruso-Cabrera said in a statement to the network. “I am so lucky to have had such a wonderful career and I want everybody to have the opportunity that I’ve had. That’s why I’m running.”
Some expect a political spectacle.
“Michelle is not only a reporter, she’s a business reporter, so we’re guessing she will be able to challenge AOC on economics — at the very least. Get your popcorn,” advise the editors of Twitchy.com, which follows the daily political discussion on Twitter.
Major news organizations including Fox News, Newsweek, The New York Post to and Wrap took notice of a sudden social media phenomenon. The #FireChuckTodd led national trends on Twitter after MSNBC anchor and “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd weighed in on Sen. Bernard Sanders and his followers at the height of the Vermont lawmaker’s presidential campaign in New Hampshire.
“#FireChuckTodd trends after MSNBC anchor quotes article comparing Bernie Sanders supporters to Brownshirts,” Newsweek wrote after the hashtag hit Twitter, generating some 24,000 tweets in a matter of hours.
“Todd complained about being on the ‘receiving end of the Bernie online brigade’ before quoting an article by Jonathan Last in The Bulwark that likened supporters of the Jewish candidate to Nazi paramilitaries. His decision to quote the conservative outlet outraged supporters of the Vermont senator, who took up the #FireChuckTodd hashtag and described the segment as indefensible,” Newsweek summarized.
Several of Mr. Sanders’ lead staffers expressed their dismay, including his press secretary Briahna Gray.
“Digital brown shirt brigade. That’s how our Jewish candidate’s supporters are being described on the mainstream media. The contempt shown for ordinary people is really something,” she tweeted.
“Todd faced similar blowback in December, insulting Trump voters by suggesting they ‘want to be lied to’ since they believe in ‘fairy tales’ — like Noah’s Ark,” said Fox News in its coverage.
Fox News remains the most-watched cable network throughout the day and the prime-time hours according to the latest numbers from Nielsen Media Research. Fox News drew 4.4 million viewers, far surpassing MSNBC with 1.6 million, HGTV (1.2 millions) and CNN 1.1 million.
“Hannity,” “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “The Ingraham Angle,” “FOX News @ Night,” and “Outnumbered Overtime” garnered their highest ratings ever last week, with prime-time host Sean Hannity leading the way with 4.9 million viewers.
POLL DU JOUR
• 37% of Americans say Republicans in general are “more united than usual”; 17% say the same of Democrats.
• 29% say Republicans are united “about the same as usual”; 26% say the same of Democrats.
• 16% say Republicans are “more divided than usual”; 40% say the same of Democrats.
• 18% are not sure how united Republicans are; 16% say the same of Democrats.
Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens conducted Feb. 2-4.
• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @Harperbulletin