May 13, 2020

Voters Overwhelmingly See U.S. International Assistance as Key to Defeating COVID-19

96% believe it is important for the U.S. to work with other countries to fight diseases that could spread globally; 80% see a global response critical to Americans’ safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the U.S. confronts the COVID-19 pandemic at home, voters across the political spectrum overwhelmingly believe U.S. international assistance is critical to defeat COVID-19 and to keep Americans safe at home, according to a new poll conducted by Morning Consult.

Nearly three-quarters, 72%, of U.S. voters support allocating $10-15 billion, or what could be about 1% of the next potential COVID-19 emergency package, toward international assistance in fighting global disease according to the poll, which was sponsored by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) and conducted April 22–24.

$10-$15 Billion in Funding for International Assistance for COVID-19

This support crosses party lines, with 6 in 10 Republican supporting funding at the $10-$15 billion level, 7 in 10 Independents, and 8 in 10 Democrats.

“While we are not surprised that Americans understood that stopping this deadly virus in other countries matters to keeping Americans safe at home, we were impressed by the overwhelming support, particularly across the political spectrum. Republican, Democratic, and Independent voters alike are resoundingly supportive of additional investments to help fight COVID-19 around the world,” stated Secretary Madeleine Albright, former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Bill Frist, and Senator Norm Coleman stated.

Results show near agreement on the importance of an international response to COVID-19: 96% believe it is important to work with other countries to fight diseases that could spread globally, with 79% believing it is very important. Again, this transcends partisanship: 71% of Republicans see working with other countries as very important, 77% of Independents, and 89% of Democrats.

“Not only do voters feel very strongly that we won’t be safe unless we stop the spread abroad, but they overwhelmingly understand we need provide assistance to poor countries fight COVID-19. It’s simply in our national interest,” said Liz Schrayer, President and CEO of the USGLC.

By large measures, voters believe that aid to support disease response in other countries will make America safer. In a head-to-head matchup:

  • 80% believe that “assistance to other countries with weaker health systems to help them fight disease are investments that make America safer;” while
  • 20% say that “assistance to other countries with weaker health systems to help them fight diseases are a waste of money that doesn’t have an impact on America.”

As congressional leaders consider future emergency COVID-19 packages, the survey shows that more than three-quarters of Americans (79%) support the inclusion of funding for the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other agencies to fight COVID-19 globally to limit its spread to the U.S. Further, 86% believe that $10-15 billion, or about 1% of the expected next spending package, is an appropriate amount or believe it should be higher.

By 3-to-1 voters would prefer a bigger aid package to a smaller one

Do you think about 1% of the total funding package is too much, too little, or about the right amount to spend on the global response to the coronavirus?

Driving much of this support is voters’ view that an international response is necessary for the U.S. to recover. The vast majority of voters, 90%, believe that this pandemic “shows we can be vulnerable and need to make changes in the way we fight infectious disease in the U.S. and around the world.” And more than three-quarters believe that the U.S. won’t be fully safe until the virus is controlled abroad.

Americans’ Continued Safety and Recovery Depends on an International Response

This poll was conducted between April 22–24, 2020 among a national sample of 1,993 registered voters. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on age, educational attainment, gender, race, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Detailed survey findings available here.

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition ( is a broad-based influential network of 500 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic, military, and community leaders in all 50 states who support strategic investments to elevate development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.