Sept. 6, 2020: “Covid-19, economy top issues for many Ohioans”

by Renee Fox Warren Tribune

In a recent “Your Voice Ohio” inspired article Renee covers the results of a July poll of a Ohio voters coordinated with the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics of Akron University. While the article talks about many of the issues that were cited, no supporting data was given or description of how this particular portion of the overall polling of the voters was conducted. Were voters given a list to choose from or were they asked to list the concerns on their own and then the responses counted to determine their frequency. That might not sound like it is important, but it helps one understand why some concerns that often make the list are missing. But another factor may better explain that.

“…there is a great deal of agreement on the issues most important to improving life – COVID-19, the economy, healthcare, racial equality, income inequality.” “At the lower end of spectrum, the respondents named mental health, international peace and security, environmental protections, infrastructure, public services, drug addiction and immigration reform.”

The article gives us a clue that the polling was done by supplying a list for those polled to rank:

“But differences in demography – gender, age, education, religion and more – play a role in how those issued are prioritized.”

The article continues by stating that voters want to hear more about the issues from the presidential candidates. It also stated that the papers plan on covering the issues in the coming weeks.

While nicely written and interesting, my concern is whether this process is self fulfilling. The Gazette has been full of articles on the Covid-19, the economy, climate change and healthcare so it is easy to understand how those would be on peoples mind. But the paper has had few articles on the unrest in Portland despite the fact it has lasted over 100 days, or that occurring in other cities. I believe I’m correct in saying there have been no articles on the Social Security Trust Fund Report that was issued April 22 or the recently issued Congressional Budget Office report which projects our level of Gross Debt to Gross Domestic Product will far exceed what it reached at the end of WWII. Both of those topics will have a greater impact on the nation as a whole if nothing is done about them than even the Covid-19 virus. Yet we see articles on Covid-19 on a regular basis, but none on the other two.

Were Social Security and National Debt on the list given to those polled?

Are we in an echo chamber where the Gannett Papers are concentrating their efforts to covering the Covid-19 virus, thus making it voters number one issue causing the news papers to carry more articles on Covid-19? It sure seems like we are.

But how do we get out of the echo chamber?

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