COVID-19 Not a Top Concern for Nashville Residents


The following findings were produced as part of Embold Research’s Omnibusthe only vehicle for hyper-affordable, bite-sized opinion research in Nashville.  


POLL: Despite Concern, COVID-19 Not Top Concern for Nashville Residents

TO: Interested Parties

FROM: Julia Slisz, Embold Research

To inquire about purchasing the full results of this poll, including demographic breakdowns, contact

As Nashville lifts restrictions and continues a return to normalcy, residents continue to express concerns about COVID-19, as well as crime and housing affordability, according to a recent survey of adults. 

Just under half of Nashville’s residents (48%) expressed concerns that lifting COVID-19 capacity restrictions on May 14th was happening too soon, the survey fielded May 6th through 14th shows. Although the national conversation surrounding COVID-19 mandates is evolving with updated CDC guidance, majorities reported serious concerns about COVID-19 (67%, 44% very serious). Black residents were more cautious about COVID-19 with 74% saying the May 14th policy change was happening too soon, compared to 40% of white residents. Similar differences surfaced with the number of Black residents expressing very serious concerns about COVID-19 (64%), compared to 38% of white Nashvillians. 



When asked how much of the time you trust the local government on COVID-19, the average in Nashville was 4.1 on a scale of 0 to 10 reflecting “Never” to “Always”, comparable to adults nationally, whose average from a survey in March was 4.2. The average in Nashville for those who indicated they are very unlikely to get the COVID-19 vaccine was significantly lower, at 2.1, a large 52% opting for 0, or “Never” trusting the local government on COVID-19. 

Despite persisting concerns, COVID-19 falls to the bottom of the list of what the public thinks are the most important issues in Nashville, led instead by crime and public safety, housing affordability, and roads, traffic and infrastructure. When asked  to choose up to three from the list below, only 10% prioritize COVID-19 as a top issue, including only 8% of Black residents.  


Crime and public safety is a top concern across demographics, and trust in local government to do what is right on crime and public safety is modest but higher than trust on other issues. Average trust on a scale from 0–10 on crime and public safety is 3.9; while trust on issues like roads, sidewalks, and traffic is lower at an average of 3.2. At the same time, while trust on crime and public safety is similar across racial groups, trust in local government on racial bias and excessive force and policing differs significantly by race: average trust among Black residents is 3.4 and 4.0 for white residents.

Housing affordability is another important issue to many, and the top priority for women (50%), those 18-34 years old (52%) and Black residents (51%). Housing costs concern both homeowners and renters: nearly three quarters (73%) of renters put housing affordability among their top three issues, and while just 25% of homeowners include housing affordability in their top three, 47% include property taxes. Nashville residents are significantly more concerned than the rest of the nation, with 79% expressing serious concerns about housing affordability, compared to only 59% of adults nationally from a survey in March. In order to combat the increasing cost of living in Nashville, majorities support encouraging more development of low-income (74%) and middle-income (90%) housing in their neighborhoods.


Embold Research surveyed 719 adults online in Nashville between May 6–14, 2021. The modeled margin of error is 4.4%. Respondents were recruited to an online survey instrument via Dynamic Online Sampling, and post-stratification was done on age, gender, race/ethnicity, and education according to ACS 2015–19 five-year estimates of demographics of Nashville. Comparisons are to a national survey of 941 adults across the United States between March 18–30, 2021.

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