Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national who was the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died Wednesday. This, plus the announced extra level of screening at five major U.S. airports, has increased concern among some over the impact of the possible spread of the Ebola virus — though there is not an extraordinary level of worry among most Americans.
We check in with Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll, to gauge public opinion. He says that at this point, data show that the average American is still no more concerned than they were about the swine flu back in 2009. Americans’ confidence in the U.S. government to handle the spread of the Ebola virus is somewhat lower, however, than it was in the 2009 situation.
When we look at the issues that voters are most interested in this year, we see agreement among both Republicans and Democrats that the economy, jobs and the federal government are important. But beyond that, there is pretty widespread disagreement between the two partisan groups on what’s important.
There is more evidence of the essential paradox of Congressional politics this year. While confidence in Congress as a whole is very low, approval of one’s own representative in Congress is quite high, above 50 pecent. Plus, new data show that while Americans say most members of Congress are out of touch and ruled by special interests, they are much kinder to their own representatives.