More than 80% of Americans support closing non-essential businesses. Support for limiting restaurants, closing schools, canceling sporting and entertainment events, and group gatherings exceeds 90%. A total of 94% strongly or somewhat approve asking people to stay home and avoid gathering in groups; 92% support canceling major sports and entertainment events; 91% approve closing K-12 schools; 91% approve limiting restaurants to carry-out only; 83% approve closing businesses other than grocery stores and pharmacies. There are some partisan differences on these items -- Republicans are somewhat less supportive, but even among Republicans large majorities support all of these measures; and, as summarized below, support is largely consistent across every state.
A bipartisan consensus opposes a rapid “reopening” of the economy. Only 7% support immediate reopening of the economy, and the median respondent supports waiting four to six weeks. There is a bipartisan consensus on waiting (89% of Republicans as compared to 96% of Democrats opposed immediate re-opening), and Republicans support a somewhat faster re-opening of the economy than Democrats, where the median Republican supports waiting two to four weeks versus median Democrat six to eight weeks. As discussed below, even in those Republican-led states which are moving toward re-opening, few people support reopening immediately.
Generally, Americans report adhering to social distancing, indicating that they had minimal social interactions with people outside of their households. That said, 56% reported encountering at least one person from outside of their home in the preceding 24 hours (and 7% reported encountering 10 or more persons); the survey did not contain information on the circumstances of those encounters (e.g., was it at grocery stores? were the individuals wearing masks?). Generally, there were not large differences with respect to age, gender, race, income, partisanship or education. An exception was that Asian Americans were substantially less likely to encounter other individuals, and more likely to avoid contact with other people. There were significant racial differences reported in wearing face masks outside of the home, with 51% of whites reporting following recommendations very closely, along with 62% of Hispanics, 64% of African Americans, and 68% of Asian Americans. There was also an age gradient in this regard, ranging from 50% face mask wearing for 18-24 year olds to 60% of those aged 65 or higher. There were also partisan differences: 51% of Republicans, compared to 64% for Democrats, reported wearing face masks outside the home.
The most trusted groups and organizations regarding the crisis embody expertise. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is the most trusted government entity, with nearly 9 in 10 (88%) indicating that they trusted the CDC “some” or “a lot.” A remarkable 96% indicate trust in hospitals and doctors (only 1% “not at all”); and 93% trusted scientists and researchers. This trust is bipartisan, but there are partisan differences in the degree of trust (i.e., “a lot” versus “some” trust), where 42% of Republicans versus 55% of Democrats report trusting the CDC a lot; 54% of Republicans versus 66% of Democrats report trusting scientists and researchers a lot; and 73% of Republicans versus 76% of Democrats report trusting doctors and hospitals a lot. Less trusted are social media companies (41%) and news media (56%), with Republicans less trusting than Democrats in both cases.