A majority of Americans say the United States is ready for a possible outbreak of the Ebola virus, but only about one in 10 say the country is “very prepared,” according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
The new poll shows that 56% of Americans say that the nation is prepared for an outbreak, while 42% disagree – including 20% who say that the U.S. is not prepared “at all.”
Confidence in the country’s ability to manage Ebola varies also varies by party. Sixty-one percent of Democrats believe the U.S. is prepared, while only 54% of independents and 52% of Republicans say the same. Majorities of rural voters (54%) and Tea Party supporters (57%) believe the U.S. isn’t prepared. Those with a college degree (57 percent) or post graduate degree (67%) have more confidence in the country’s readiness than those with a high school education or less (52%).
Despite some skepticism of the country’s handling of the disease, Americans report generally positive feelings about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency most directly handling the nation’s Ebola response. Forty-nine percent say they have a positive view of the CDC, while just 22% say they view it negatively.
The findings come amid high interest in the story. A whopping 97% of respondents told pollsters that they’d seen, heard, or read about the treatment and death of Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of the disease in a Dallas hospital last week. And 98% said the same of the spread of the disease in West Africa. Those are the top two most recognized news stories during President Barack Obama’s tenure in office, even more widely known than the ISIS beheadings of Western journalists (94%) and the Trayvon Martin shooting (91%).