With the number of cases of H1N1 flu on the rise, a majority of Americans say they're concerned about the spread of the virus, but are reasonably confident that the federal government is prepared to deal with the outbreak.
H1N1 — also known as swine flu — is the first pandemic flu to hit the United States in over 40 years. According to the latest FOX News poll, nearly two out of three Americans are "very" concerned (26 percent) or "somewhat concerned" (38 percent) about the spread of the virus, while one in three is "not very" concerned (22 percent) or "not at all concerned" (13 percent).
That more Americans are not panicking over the H1N1 virus may be because most Americans have larger worries at the moment. When asked whether they were more concerned that a family member might lose their job or catch the swine flu, twice as many voiced greater concern about job security (55 percent job loss to 28 percent swine flu).
Though few Americans — 9 percent — feel the federal government is "not at all prepared" to deal with the virus, only slightly more — 14 percent — think the government is "very prepared."
Confidence in the government’s ability to cope with the pandemic lies somewhere in between, with a slight 54-percent majority saying the government is "somewhat prepared" and approximately one in five (18 percent) saying "not very." However, compared to 2005 when the next pandemic was expected to be spread by birds, nearly twice as many today feel the government is at least somewhat prepared for an outbreak (68 percent swine flu to 35 percent bird flu).
A majority of Americans are also doing their part to prevent the spread of the virus: 66 percent say they are washing their hands more frequently to prevent catching the swine flu.
A slight majority (53 percent) also intend to get vaccinated against H1N1 when a vaccine becomes available. This is similar to the number of people who say they usually get vaccinated against the seasonal flu (56 percent), which indicates confidence in the safety of new vaccine.
Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from September 15 to September 16. The poll has a 3-point error margin.
Tami Buhr is a Senior Project Manager at Opinion Dynamics Corporation.