Most Americans say they'll keep staying home this month even if restrictions are lifted


An overwhelming majority of the American public — 87% — is now making the effort to stay at home when possible, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds, with most saying they’ll continue to do so this month regardless of any official limitations.

Just 7% of Americans say they’re not currently trying to stay home when possible, with another 6% unsure. By a 70-point margin (79% versus 9%), Americans say that the states that have issued stay-at-home orders made the right decision in doing so.

President Donald Trump said in March that he wanted to see the U.S. “opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” which is April 12. At the end of March, however, he endorsed extending social distancing through the end of April, calling the earlier timeline “aspirational.”

Even if states were to ease back on restrictions this month, most Americans say they are likely to continue taking their own precautions. About 61% say they’d continue to stay home when possible even if their area lifted all coronavirus restrictions in mid-April. About 19% who are staying home now say they would go back to living as normally as possible if restrictions were lifted, with 7% of those staying home now who aren’t sure what they would do.

Those findings shouldn’t be taken as absolute or immovable. People aren’t necessarily great at predicting their own actions in a future hypothetical situation. That’s especially true now, with the outbreak continuing to rapidly unfold and statements from the White House varying greatly in tone and content. The results, however, do suggest the majority of the public is hunkering down not merely out of duress, but also out of their own genuine concerns ― and that they’re prepared to continue doing so for at least some time. Only about one-quarter of Americans say they expect things will soon go back to normal in the country, with 62% foreseeing lasting effects on the nation. The rest are unsure what will happen.

The vast scope of the nation’s social distancing efforts have, for now, considerably overshadowed even the usual partisan divides. A roughly equivalent share of Democrats (92%) and Republicans (89%) say they’re staying home as much as possible. Only about 10% of each party says that stay-at-home orders are a bad decision.

Democrats, though, are currently more likely than Republicans to believe that the outbreak will have lasting effects, and to say they plan to keep staying home this month regardless of their state’s actions: 72% of Democrats, compared to 53% of Republicans, say they’d continue doing so even if the area they live in relaxed the rules this month.

Most Americans Approve Of The Government’s Coronavirus Response

Americans say, 57% to 37%, they approve of the government’s handling of coronavirus, a modest uptick from the previous HuffPost/YouGov poll, when half approved. Half currently approve of Trump’s handling of the issue, with 45% disapproving. The public is closely divided on whether Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden would do a better job handling the crisis, with 37% saying Trump would, 33% saying Biden would, and the rest unsure or doubting there’d be much difference. Respondents were evenly split on whether Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or Trump would respond better.

More than nine in 10 Americans say they’ve heard at least something about the $2 trillion coronavirus emergency spending bill that was signed into law last Friday. Just 23% say the bill will help people like them a lot, with 48% expecting it to help a little, and 19% not to help at all. Another tenth aren’t sure.

Republicans are 14 percentage points likelier than Democrats to expect the bill to help people like them a lot. Those without a college degree are 16 points likelier than those with a degree to see the bill as offering significant help, and those in households making less than $50,000 annually are 15 points likelier to see the bill as offering significant help than those in households making $100,000 or more.

Most Americans Now Say They’re Very Concerned By The Outbreak

A 55% majority of Americans say they’re very concerned about the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S., up 20 points since mid-March, with 85% now at least somewhat concerned.

A 55% majority of Americans say they're very concerned about the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S., up 20 points since mid-March.
A 55% majority of Americans say they're very concerned about the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S., up 20 points since mid-March.

More than a third — 38% — say they’re very concerned that they or someone in their family will contract the virus, with 78% at least somewhat concerned. Three-quarters of people say their daily life has changed at least somewhat compared to the start of the outbreak, with 46% saying their life has changed a lot.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted March 27-31 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls.You can learn more about this project andtake part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some but not all potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.