New Research: Increasing Commitment to Social Distancing among Important Populations


Given the current public health crisis, Working America wanted to use our clinical message testing ability to persuade more people to adopt responsible social-distancing behaviors. (ie- If we can persuade people effectively on an election, then we should be able to persuade them on a matter of public health).

In an online survey panel experiment where people were forced to see different messages about COVID-19, we were able to measurably increase personal agreement with social-distancing practices (eg- stay at home, avoid bars and restaurants, etc.)  These findings were especially important among several groups of voters who have shown lower levels of concern about social distancing: young people, African Americans, Latinx voters, low-income people and Republicans.

We are incorporating these findings into the launch of a public education campaign targeted at these sub-populations in regions where we have Working America offices.

Our goal is to provide evidence of effective ways to increase social distancing and to get as many people with communications capacity to those audiences as we can to make use of the information and education and persuade the public.

We realize that this approach is not perfect, but we feel it is incumbent on all of us to do what we can to mitigate this crisis.


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