The Zika virus is on most Americans’ radar. Nearly three-fourths of Americans think the government should invest more money in research and preventing the spread of the virus, according to a poll released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The data comes after the Senate failed this week to pass a spending bill that would address the Zika virus. Democrats, including President Obama, say they will not support the bill as it is currently written because of some provisions they say are “poison pill riders.” Top Republicans say they will not amend the bill before bringing it back to the floor for another vote next week.
While Congress struggles to provide funding for Zika, Americans agree that the country should be investing in research and preventing the spread of the virus. Across the political spectrum, 73 percent of people surveyed by Kaiser said the United States should invest money to research the virus, and 72 percent said the U.S. should invest in preventing the spread of the disease. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to agree with both of these statements, but more than half of respondents identifying with both parties answered affirmatively.
About two-thirds of all respondents (65 percent) also said the U.S. should help women in areas prone to Zika to access reproductive health services, but the split between political parties on that question is greater. Among Democrats, 81 percent said the U.S. should help these women access reproductive health services, while just over half as many Republicans (46 percent) agreed.
Meanwhile, a majority of Americans are regularly following news about the outbreak.
In June, 57 percent of Americans reported that they had followed news about the outbreak closely, and 85 percent said they had read or heard something about the virus.
Even though the outbreak is on peoples’ radar, almost two-thirds of them (63 percent) believe that the number of cases in the U.S. will be contained to a small amount. People also think Zika doesn’t pose a major threat to them personally, with just 13 percent saying they believe the virus poses a major threat to them and 41 percent saying it does not.