April 6, 2021
As the nation's vaccination rate continues to tick up and new daily cases of COVID-19 remain lower than they were at their highest levels in January, Gallup's latest COVID-19 tracking survey documents solid improvements in Americans' attitudes about various aspects of the pandemic.
A record-high 77% of U.S. adults in the March 15-21 survey said the coronavirus situation in the U.S. is getting better, and their levels of concern about contracting the virus (35%) and about access to hospital services/treatment (22%) and COVID-19 tests (14%) fell to record lows.
Americans' Worry About Catching COVID-19 Drops to Record Low (April 6, 2021)
Shifting Views of COVID-19 Vaccine
Americans have also become far more satisfied with the vaccine rollout in the U.S., with satisfaction rising to 68% in March, double the January reading. Majorities of all major demographic subgroups now register satisfaction.
Willingness to be immunized against COVID-19 has also edged up, to 74% -- the highest point of the pandemic. Nineteen percent of U.S. adults said they are fully vaccinated, 13% are partially vaccinated, and 42% plan to get vaccinated but have not yet done so. The 26% who say they would not agree to be vaccinated is the lowest by three points since July.
Although at least slim majorities of Americans in all major demographic subgroups express willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, older Americans, Democrats, college graduates and those with annual household incomes of $90,000 or more are significantly more likely than their counterparts to say they have already received it or want to do so.
Most Americans appear to be following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommend continuing to wear masks when in public. With near unanimity, those who are already at least partially vaccinated are just as likely as those who are not vaccinated but plan to be to say they have worn a mask outside their home in the past seven days.
Satisfaction With U.S. Vaccine Rollout Surges to 68% (March 30, 2021)
Evolving Social Distancing Behaviors
The March survey captured a decrease in social distancing behaviors, which is directly linked to increased vaccination rates. Americans who are fully vaccinated are much less likely than those who are partially vaccinated or who plan to get vaccinated to say they are isolating themselves from others. Likewise, those who are vaccinated are increasingly likely to report going to stores, restaurants, other people's homes and their workplace.
Social Distancing Behaviors Drop as U.S. Vaccinations Rise (March 31, 2021)
Continued Support for Return to In-Person School
As frustrated parents around the nation have been vocally pushing for a return to the classroom, citing concerns about the damage to their children's academic progress, psychological health and social development, the public's appetite for in-person education remains high. Seventy-four percent of U.S. adults, including 79% of K-12 parents, support in-person schooling in their community. A slightly smaller 67% of Americans favor in-person college classes.
|In-person schooling for K-12 students||74|
|In-person schooling for college students||67|
|GALLUP PANEL, March 15-21, 2021|
Approval of COVID-19 Aid Package Sharply Polarized
Although a majority of Americans overall (63%) approve of the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden, support for it is politically divided. Nearly all Democrats (97%), about six in 10 independents (58%) and fewer than one in five Republicans (18%) approve of the roughly $2 trillion aid package. This contrasts with the 2020 CARES Act, which had the backing of strong majorities across party lines.
COVID-19 Aid Package Both Popular and Controversial (March 26, 2021)
COVID-19 and U.S. Workers
Gallup has tracked how the pandemic has disrupted work life in the U.S. over the past year using a number of measures. Since April 2020, roughly four in five workers have consistently said they are doing their job differently. More than one-third of adults in that group say the disruption has made their job more difficult. Although remote work has declined since last spring, 58% of U.S. workers continue to do their job remotely at least some of the time.
And while workers initially gave their employer high marks for effective communication at the start of the pandemic, their assessments have worsened as the pandemic has worn on.
How Has the Pandemic Affected U.S. Work Life? (March 17, 2021)
Working women during the pandemic suffered greater job losses than men. Employed women were more likely than men to say that their own mental health suffered during the pandemic, and working women also reported slightly more stress and worry than their male counterparts.
Life Evaluation Slips More for U.S. Working Women Than Men (March 22, 2021)
Gallup's COVID-19 Data Resources
Links to all of Gallup's articles about the pandemic are available on this master list of COVID-19 news articles, sorted by topic.
The Gallup News home page always features the latest findings from our ongoing COVID-19 research and offers helpful summary pages to direct you to specific content. These include:
This blog highlights the key insights drawn from our top news articles and is updated regularly. Please bookmark and visit often. If you are a member of the media interested in getting the latest updates on Gallup's COVID-19 coverage, or being notified when this page is updated, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Review Gallup's findings on all aspects of the COVID-19 crisis:
Past blog entries appear below.
March 12, 2021
A year after the pandemic took hold in the U.S. and led to nationwide lockdowns to prevent the spread of the disease, Gallup finds the highest level of optimism about the COVID-19 situation to date. Gallup's latest polling, from Feb. 14-21, also finds 71% of Americans saying they plan to get vaccinated, including 16% who had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Majority Now Says COVID-19 Situation Getting Better
For the first time, a majority of Americans, 60%, believe the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. is getting better. As recently as November, 73% said the situation was getting worse. Changes in assessments of the COVID-19 pandemic are strongly related to the changes in the number of coronavirus infections, and February saw a steep decline in infections compared with large increases in November and December.
Americans' personal worry about the disease has eased slightly, with 49% now saying they are very or somewhat worried about getting COVID-19, down from the high of 58% in November and matching the lows from June and September.
Still, Americans believe the disruptions caused by the pandemic will remain for some time, with 52% predicting they will persist into the second half of 2021.
Greater Satisfaction With the Vaccine Rollout
With increasing numbers of adults getting the vaccine, Americans are now more likely to express satisfaction with how the vaccine process is going in the U.S. Forty-four percent are satisfied, up from 34% in January. Still, more are dissatisfied (56%) than satisfied.
Americans who have been fully vaccinated from the coronavirus -- who had received both doses of the vaccines available at the time of February interviewing -- are less inclined than those who have not been fully vaccinated to say they are mostly or completely isolating themselves from others.
Because the proportion of U.S. adults who have been fully vaccinated remains small, the group's more relaxed attitudes toward social distancing have not done much to reduce the overall percentage of Americans who are taking such measures. Forty-seven percent of all Americans in February, compared with 50% in December, say they are mostly isolating themselves from others.
Parents Want Children Back in School
Gallup finds 79% of parents of children in grades K-12 favor in-person schooling for elementary and secondary school students in their community right now. This includes solid majorities of working and nonworking parents; those in all regions of the U.S.; and Republicans, independents and Democrats. Political leaders have made in-person schooling a priority, but many districts continue to educate their students through remote learning methods.
Americans' assessments of the national economy remain significantly worse than they were before the pandemic, but not nearly as bad as they were in its initial stages. Gallup did, however, find an uptick in February in mentions of economic issues as the most important problem.
Meanwhile, Americans' ratings of the current state of their personal financial situation have not changed much since last spring. However, over the past year, Americans have expressed considerable anxiety about how their finances might change.
Women have been disproportionately affected by the decline in the job market compared with men. A major reason for this is that women are more likely than men to be employed in the types of jobs that have been more affected by the pandemic. Leaving work to provide child care for remote learners is another factor, while differential concern about being infected with the coronavirus does not appear to be a reason for the gender discrepancies.
At the one-year anniversary of the U.S. national coronavirus emergency, Gallup finds relatively positive ratings of President Joe Biden for his handling of the pandemic, improved personal life evaluation ratings from Americans, and higher worker engagement with their jobs.
Feb. 24, 2021
In late January, a majority of Americans (56%) reported they were maintaining their avoidance of small gatherings, similar to the recent peak in this precautionary behavior that Gallup recorded at the tail end of 2020. This is based on Gallup's Jan. 25-31 COVID-19 tracking survey as new daily cases were dropping after the post-holiday peak -- but stay tuned for more recent figures from the monthly update in February.
Line graph. Americans' avoidance of small gatherings due to concern over COVID-19. 56% of Americans say the have avoided small gatherings of people over these concerns, in February. This is essentially unchanged from the 57% who said the same last month.
Most Americans Dissatisfied With Vaccine Rollout
The late January survey found 66% of Americans were dissatisfied with the COVID-19 vaccination process in the U.S.
Meanwhile, 71% of Americans said they were willing to be vaccinated, up from 65% in late December and the highest recorded since July. The January figure included 62% who said they would be willing to be vaccinated if it were available to them right now at no cost and 9% who said they had already received at least one of the two doses needed to be fully inoculated. Those resistant to receiving the vaccine were divided in their reasons, but concerns about its safety and a general distrust of vaccines were chief among them.
According to an analysis of data from the Franklin Templeton-Gallup Economics of Recovery Study, 49% of healthcare workers and first responders said in December that they would agree to receive the vaccine and 34% said they would not, with another 18% unsure. These front-line workers were about as likely as workers in other sectors to say they would agree to get a COVID-19 vaccine that was free, widely available, FDA-approved and at least 90% effective.
COVID-19 Disruption Seen as Lasting Longer Than Before
More than half of Americans, 53%, see the disruption due to COVID-19 lasting past the middle of 2021, up from 33% who said the same in late December. This is largely due to a shift away from perceptions that the disruption would be over by mid-year, with 37% of the U.S. public saying the situation will have improved by then -- a substantial drop from the 55% who previously said so. Relatively few Americans expect the disruption to last a few more months or less.
Line graph. Americans' views on how long disruption from COVID-19 will last. 53% now say disruption will last past the first half of 2021, while 37% say through the first half of the year, 8% believe it will continue for a few more months and 2% say a few more weeks.
Remote Work Still the Norm for Most U.S. Workers
A solid majority of U.S. workers, 56%, continue to report they are working remotely all or part of the time to avoid catching or spreading the coronavirus.
When Gallup first asked workers last April whether they were working remotely, the rate was at its high point of 70%. It dwindled in each subsequent month before leveling off in September.
Line graph. The percentage of U.S. adults work remotely all or some of the time to avoid COVID-19. 56% of Americans say they are now working remotely some or all of the time, little changed from 58% in December of last year.
Listen to Gallup's senior workplace strategist, Dr. Adam Hickman, talk about remote work strategies, isolation, wellbeing and how to stay productive as remote work extends into 2021 for many Americans.
Remote Work: What Works and What Doesn't (Feb. 12)
A study by the Carnegie Corporation and Gallup highlights Americans' widespread concern about job losses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, Americans were most likely to choose access to healthcare and the economy/job loss among the most important issues currently facing the nation, from a list of eight. When asked which of those eight issues have become more urgent in recent months, however, they were most likely to choose the economy and job loss (76%).
Americans' views of how their personal financial situation changed over the past year dropped precipitously in early 2021, reflecting the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on these perceptions. After hitting a record high in January 2020, the percentage of U.S. adults saying they are financially better off than they were a year ago tumbled 24 percentage points to 35%, the lowest reading since 2014. At the same time, 36% said they are worse off and 28% volunteered that their situation is the same.
Line graph. Americans' assessment of their current financial situations. 36% say they are better off now financially than they were a year ago, while 35% say they are worse off.
Polling at a Global Level During a Pandemic
Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Gallup to rethink how we survey the world. Since 2005, Gallup has conducted the majority of World Poll surveys through face-to-face interviews -- which was neither safe nor possible to do in most places in 2020, and still isn't today.
After concluding that we could safely transition from in-person interviews to computer-assisted telephone interviews and still maintain the data quality that meets Gallup's standards, that switch was made. Using Gallup's highly experienced regional polling teams around the world, surveys were conducted in 116 countries and areas in 2020.
Jan. 20, 2021
The latest update to Gallup's ongoing COVID-19 tracking survey was conducted Dec. 15-Jan. 3 as coronavirus cases and deaths surged in the U.S. and Americans began to receive their first vaccinations against the disease. During this period, the percentage of Americans who reported that they had avoided small gatherings in the past week rose seven percentage points to 57%, the highest level since late May.
Line graph. Americans' self-reports of their avoidance of small gatherings in the past seven days since mid-March. The latest 57%, from Dec. 15-Jan. 3 polling marks a seven-point increase from the prior month.
At the same time, Americans' self-reports of their in-person contact with people outside their household remained steady, with half saying they were completely (15%) or mostly (35%) isolating themselves and the other half saying they were isolating partially (23%), only a little (14%) or not at all (14%).
There was also no change in the 69% of U.S. adults who said the better advice right now for people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms and are otherwise healthy is to "stay home as much as possible" rather than "lead their normal lives as much as possible and avoid interruptions to work and business" (31%).
While Americans remained pessimistic about the trajectory of the coronavirus situation, the percentage who say the situation is getting worse fell 10 points to 63% from the previous reading in November. An analysis shows a correlation between the percentage growth in COVID-19 cases from the prior month and the public's assessment of the situation.
Willingness to Be Vaccinated Not Universal
The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. was met with a public that is largely willing to receive them -- roughly two-thirds indicated they would do so. Yet, there are significant differences among some key demographic groups' willingness to be vaccinated. Republicans, those without college degrees, those aged 45 to 64 and non-White adults are less willing than their counterparts.
Republicans' hesitancy to be vaccinated could significantly impact the nation's ability to overcome the pandemic.
A recent Gallup survey for the Center for the Future of Arizona found that Arizonans who are reluctant to receive the vaccine are most concerned about the safety and effectiveness of it. The study highlights the importance of having medical professionals and scientists be the most visible purveyors of information about the coronavirus and the vaccine.
Ratings of Institutions and Honesty of Professions
Indeed, Gallup's annual Honesty and Ethics poll in December found that the ratings of healthcare workers -- including nurses, medical doctors and pharmacists, who have been on the front lines of the pandemic -- rose in 2020. Nurses remain the highest-ranked profession for having high ethical standards. Along with medical doctors, they received their highest ratings on record.
Meanwhile, Americans continued to rate President Donald Trump and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) low for communicating a clear plan in response to the coronavirus situation. U.S. adults' positive ratings for their state governors, which had ranged from 51% to 56% between June and November, fell to 47% in the latest COVID-19 tracking survey. Ratings of Democratic governors remained higher than those of Republican governors.
Impact of COVID-19 on College Students
An opt-in nationwide survey of college students (the Lumina-Gallup Student Study) conducted in the fall found that 76% of students pursuing bachelor's degrees and 72% of those working toward associate degrees rated the quality of their educational experience as either "excellent" or "very good." Yet, those who transitioned from in-person to online instruction as a result of COVID-19 were more likely to say the quality of their education was worse rather than better or the same as it was before the pandemic.
About half of bachelor's degree students (49%) and a slight majority of associate degree students (56%) said in the fall that it was likely the pandemic will negatively impact their ability to complete their degree. COVID-19's impact on completion is even stronger among Black and Hispanic students.
Dec. 15, 2020
The most recent update to Gallup's COVID-19 tracking poll was conducted Nov. 16-29 as cases of the disease and deaths from the virus continued to mount. In line with this, the public's perceptions that the coronavirus situation is worsening rose by 12 percentage points from the prior month, to 73% -- matching the previous high in July.
Public concern about the availability of hospital supplies, services and treatment also rose between October and November, increasing by 17 points to 50%, the highest since April. Meanwhile, the 58% worried about personally contracting the disease was unchanged, and the percentage expecting disruptions to continue through the first half of 2021 rose slightly to 56%.
Data from Gallup's annual Health and Healthcare poll earlier in November found a record-high 69% of U.S. adults naming COVID-19 or viruses as the most urgent health problem facing the country. The previous high was when 62% named AIDS in 1987.
More in U.S. Report Social Distancing, but Still Gathering in Small Groups
Americans' self-reports of strict social distancing -- those completely or mostly isolating themselves from non-household members -- rose from late October, to 50%, but remained far below the level seen during the initial phases of the pandemic. While an increasing majority said they are avoiding public places, three-quarters continue to avoid large crowds. Yet, as the holiday season began, half said they are staying away from small gatherings.
Meanwhile, research from the Franklin Templeton-Gallup Economics of Recovery Study found that Americans are much less likely to wear a mask when indoors with friends and family members who are non-household members than they are to wear one when in public.
Mental Health Ratings Fall Sharply
Gallup's annual November survey found a record-low percentage of Americans rating their mental health positively -- a nine-point, one-year decline. Still, 76% said their mental health is excellent or good.
Americans' Willingness to Get Vaccine Rises
Gallup's Nov. 16-29 update followed the promising announcement from Pfizer and BioNTech that their vaccine had proved better than 90% effective in Phase 3 clinical trials, although the survey period ended prior to the Food and Drug Administration granting emergency use authorization for a vaccine this month.
With the prospect of FDA approval looming, the public's willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine nearly rebounded to the previous high of 66% after hitting a 50% low point in September.
Economic Impact of Pandemic Continues
More Americans continued to name the coronavirus than any other issue as the most important problem facing the country in November. Although few cited the economy as the top problem, majorities continued to rate current economic conditions negatively -- as "fair" or "poor" -- and to say the economy is getting worse.
The Franklin Templeton-Gallup Economics of Recovery Study found that four key indicators help to gauge where the nation stands in its economic recovery: levels of public consumption; Americans' confidence in their ability to protect themselves from COVID-19; the percentage who favor full-time, in-person schooling for their children; and the public's willingness to get a vaccine.
Nov. 23, 2020
As COVID-19 surged across the U.S. in October, the latest Gallup Panel tracking data, collected Oct. 19-Nov. 1, found the public increasingly perceiving the situation as worsening and worrying about exposure. Yet, most Americans said they have a great deal of confidence that they can protect themselves from getting the disease -- and their self-reported use of face masks remained high, even as their social distancing behaviors were unchanged from September.
The data also revealed that "coronavirus fatigue" has set in. The percentage of Americans saying they would comply with a recommended 30-day lockdown to limit the spread of COVID-19 was sharply lower in the latest reading than it was in the spring. This heightened reluctance is driven mostly by Republicans, as Democrats remain largely willing to follow public health officials' advice.
Meanwhile, research from Franklin Templeton and Gallup conducted in September and October delved deeper into individuals' perceptions of the risk of getting COVID-19. In general, researchers concluded that Americans' confidence that they can protect themselves from getting the disease is linked to their level of concern about dying from it, and that their perceptions of risk are largely dependent on their partisanship, age and race.
The COVID Confidence Conundrum (Nov. 19)
Likewise, the latest Gallup Panel data also showed that partisanship remains the most significant driver of the public's perceptions of the disease and their behaviors in response to it. A majority of Republicans think the best thing for healthy people is to live their lives normally; however, majorities of Democrats and independents think staying home is the best approach to avoid contracting or spreading the virus. Partisans' reports of what they are doing are largely in line with these philosophies.
Still, seven in 10 Americans say their lives have been disrupted by the coronavirus, and more than three in five say their lives have not yet returned to normal.
Our recent Gallup Panel findings on Americans' willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine come from polling conducted prior to promising news about the timing and effectiveness of such vaccines. Even before this potentially positive news, the percentage of U.S. adults who said they would get a coronavirus vaccine had risen to 58% from a 50% low in September. This increase largely stemmed from a 16-point jump in the percentage of Democrats saying they would get the vaccine after their willingness cratered in September. Republicans and independents remained less willing than Democrats to say they'd get a COVID-19 vaccine.
An experiment conducted by Franklin Templeton and Gallup, meanwhile, found that vaccine compliance increases when the public receives reassuring information about the approval process, side effects, efficacy and costs associated with a potential vaccine.
With the holidays approaching and the economy still imperiled, a Sept. 30-Oct. 15 Gallup poll showed that a majority of Americans (59%) plan to spend about the same amount this holiday season as they did last year, while 28% expect to spend less. Yet, Franklin Templeton/Gallup data from October showed a willingness among respondents to spend more if they were to receive a $1,200 stimulus payment from the government as part of a coronavirus relief package.
Oct. 19, 2020
Gallup's most recent survey about Americans' attitudes on COVID-19, conducted Sept. 14-27, finds 49% of U.S. adults saying they are either very worried (10%) or somewhat worried (39%) about contracting the coronavirus. This is the lowest level of concern recorded since mid-June, when 47% said they were very or somewhat worried about it.
Line graph. Americans worry that they will catch COVID-19. Currently, 49% of Americans are very or somewhat worried about contracting the disease, the lowest point in Gallup's trend since June.
Concern About Availability of Coronavirus Tests at New Low
Americans' levels of concern about the availability of COVID-19 tests and hospital supplies, services and treatments are the lowest in Gallup's trends since April.
One in four Americans (25%) are either very worried (6%) or moderately worried (19%) about the availability of COVID-19 tests in their area, down by more than half from the 60% who said the same when Gallup first asked about the issue in early April. The current low may be due, at least in part, to plans announced by the Department of Health and Human Services in late August to deliver 150 million rapid COVID-19 tests across the country.
Line graph. Americans' worries about the availability of COVID-19 tests and hospital supplies, services and treatments. Currently, 25% of Americans are very or moderately worried about the availability of COVID-19 tests, the lowest in Gallup's trend. 26% are very or moderately worried about the availability of hospital supplies, services and treatment, again the lowest point in Gallup's trend.
Additionally, about a quarter of Americans (26%) say they are either very worried (5%) or moderately worried (21%) about the availability of hospital supplies, services and treatments in their area. Again, this is less than half of the 64% who registered such levels of concern in April, and down significantly from 49% in mid-July. The decline since July in concern about hospital care corresponds with the drop in daily hospitalizations nationwide to numbers last seen in June.
Americans' Willingness to Take Measures to Avoid COVID-19
Americans' readiness to be vaccinated for COVID-19 has fallen to its lowest point in Gallup's trend since July. Half of Americans (50%) say they would agree to be vaccinated "right now" if an FDA-approved vaccine was available at no cost, down from 66% when Gallup first asked Americans about it in July.
Research conducted Sept. 4-13 in partnership with Franklin Templeton provides deeper insights into Americans' attitudes on efforts to control the spread of the disease. That survey finds 80% of Americans saying they are highly likely to wear a mask tomorrow if they were out of their home and in an indoor space. Mask usage is highest among Americans who believe asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 can still spread the disease, with 96% of this group saying they have worn a mask when outside their home within the past seven days.
COVID-19's Impact on Work and Consumer Behavior
As the coronavirus pandemic has stretched into the fall, the long-term impact of the disruption it has caused has become apparent through both Gallup's COVID-19 tracking survey and the Franklin Templeton/Gallup research.
Gallup's Sept. 14-27 survey revealed the current state of Americans' remote work habits, with 33% of U.S. workers saying they "always" work remotely to avoid catching or spreading the coronavirus, while 25% say they sometimes do and 42% say they never do. Forty-six percent of U.S. workers say that "all or nearly all employees" at their place of work are currently working on-site. And a majority, 55%, continue to be very or moderately concerned about being exposed to COVID-19 at their place of work.
COVID-19 and Remote Work: An Update (Oct. 13)
The Sept. 4-13 Franklin Templeton/Gallup survey measured Americans' attitudes on returning to pre-COVID-19 patterns of consumer behavior, such as dining at restaurants, going to gyms or salons, and traveling. This research found links between Americans' confidence in their ability to protect themselves from COVID-19 and their willingness to return to these activities, with adults who are "very confident" that they can protect themselves substantially more likely to resume these activities.
COVID-19 Concerns Among Parents
The reopening of schools in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked substantial debate over its safety. Nearly half of U.S. parents of children aged 18 or younger (45%) say they are very worried that their child will get COVID-19 at school or day care, with another 27% saying they are somewhat worried.
Differences in COVID-19 Concerns Between Men and Women
Although partisanship is a major differentiator in U.S. attitudes and behaviors related to COVID-19, gender also matters. Women are substantially more likely than men to say they are very or somewhat worried about catching the disease (60% vs. 47%, respectively). Women (79%) are also more likely than men (64%) to say they always wear a mask in indoor settings when social distancing isn't possible.
Oct. 5, 2020
Here is a quick review of Gallup's August and September reports on Americans' assessment of the coronavirus pandemic, their proclivity to visit retailers and spend money, and their views on government leaders' handling of the crisis. The findings are based on Gallup polling conducted before the U.S. surpassed 200,000 deaths in late September and before President Donald Trump and others in his inner circle started testing positive for the virus.
Assessing the Crisis
In late August, as schools and more businesses around the country were starting to reopen, Americans were markedly less negative about the coronavirus situation than they had been over much of the summer. For the first time since early June, less than half thought the situation was getting worse (47%) while more said it was either getting better (30%) or staying the same (23%).
Attitudes have since improved further, with 42% saying the situation is getting worse and 36% saying it's getting better, based on Gallup polling conducted Sept. 14-27.
Line graph. Weekly trend since April 6 in Americans belief that the coronavirus situation is getting better or staying the same or getting worse. After improving for much of May and June large majorities in late June and July thought things were getting worse. Since then the negative outlook has sunk below 50% and 36% are optimistic the situation is improving.
U.S. COVID-19 Policies and Leadership
When asked to rate how Trump, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and their state governor are handling different aspects of the pandemic, Americans are most positive, by far, about their governor.
State governors as a whole are rated best by the American people across three measures of government leadership on the coronavirus or related health challenges, followed by the CDC and, lastly, Trump.
Residents in states led by Democratic governors (61%) are far more likely than those in Republican-led states (47%) to say their governor has communicated a clear plan of action in response to the coronavirus.
Line graph. Line graph. Ratings of state governors' communication of a clear plan of action in response to the coronavirus since June. Currently, 61% of Democratic and 47% of Republican governors are rated positively for their communication of a clear plan of action.
In August, the Franklin Templeton-Gallup Economics of Recovery Study documented broad bipartisan support for a second wave of economic impact payments to all qualified adults.
The Economic and Financial Effects of COVID
Gallup research conducted in partnership with Franklin Templeton reveals that Americans who are currently able to save money are putting most of that surplus cash into their savings accounts rather than adding to retail spending.
When given the opportunity to give multiple answers, 76% of those who are compiling cash reserves right now say they will use it to add to their savings, and another 10% say they will use it to pay off existing debt. About a quarter say they will spend it on "basic goods and/or services," while 13% will spend it on a future vacation or personal travel.
The Franklin Templeton survey also found no change between July and August in U.S. adults' reports of visiting various types of retail establishments. While the majority said they or a household member had visited a grocery store in the past 48 hours, this was essentially unchanged in August at 57%, versus 56% in July. Recent visits to restaurants (20%), pharmacies (19%), gyms (7%), salons/barbershops (7%) and hotels (6%) were also steady in August.
In line with the stability in consumer behavior, small-business owners' optimism remains subdued according to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index. Although the index was improved in August compared with April, it is far from restored to its pre-COVID-19 level at the start of the year. Only 38% of U.S. small businesses report they are "operating as normal."
Long-Term Gallup Work Trends Show COVID-19 Effects
Gallup's July/August 2020 update of its annual Work and Education survey found workers more concerned about layoffs and cutbacks than they were a year ago, as well as less satisfied with their on-the-job safety.
An analysis of Gallup work-from-home trends finds only a modest increase since the start of the pandemic in the percentage of workers who have ever telecommuted. But the number of days that these workers say they have worked from home in the past month has more than doubled in the past year. In other words, those who can't telecommute aren't -- but those who can are doing it more than ever.
U.S. Adults' Wellbeing
Americans were doing a bit better emotionally in July than toward the beginning of the pandemic, according to Gallup's life evaluation ratings. The percentage "thriving" in July stood at 52.2%, up from 46.4% in April but still not restored to the 56.1% found pre-COVID-19.
Aug. 19, 2020
Americans' initial hope that the disruption caused by the coronavirus would end quickly has faded. Instead, after five months of living through the pandemic, Americans have come to expect the disruption to last beyond this year. Half expressed this for the first time last week, with the 51% saying so up five percentage points from the prior week.
Line graph. Weekly trends since March 13 in Americans perception of length of time it will take before the disruption caused by the coronavirus starts to improve. In March more than 80% thought it would take a few more weeks or months but that gradually declined to roughly 20% in recent weeks. Now the slight majority of 51% think it will take longer than this year.
Gallup's recent articles explore how Americans perceive the seriousness of the pandemic and how they are coping with it in their daily lives.
How Much Americans Worry About COVID-19
Pandemic fears: Americans' belief that the pandemic is getting worse wobbles from week to week but has remained high since the fourth week of June. Gallup's Zach Hrynowski summarized various Gallup indicators of public concern about the pandemic last week, and since then the percentage saying the coronavirus situation is getting worse has held steady at 61%. Fewer -- about four in 10 -- worry about the availability of testing and hospital supplies, and those figures too have since remained the same.
Line graph. Weekly trend since April 6 in Americans belief that the coronavirus situation is getting better or staying the same or getting worse. After improving for much of May and June Americans outlook turned negative in June and the majority continue to say things are getting worse.
COVID-19 as top problem: After slipping into a tie with race relations and government leadership in June, the percentage of Americans citing the coronavirus as the "most important problem" facing the U.S. jumped 10 points in July and is back in the top spot.
Steps Americans Can Take to Protect Themselves
Looking ahead to a vaccine: Gallup recently asked Americans if they would agree to be vaccinated once an FDA-approved vaccine becomes available, and assuming the vaccine is free. Just shy of two-thirds say they would get vaccinated, while about a third say they would not.
Face masks: Nine in 10 Americans now report wearing a face mask in the past seven days, but people are much more vigilant about "always" or "usually" donning them in indoor settings when they can't socially distance (86%) than in outdoor settings (47%). These data feature strong partisan differences.
Americans' Comfort With Normal Activities Amongst COVID-19
K-12 education: U.S. parents' preferences for their children's schooling have changed since the end of the 2019-2020 school year. While at that point a slight majority wanted their children to go back to school in person in the fall, today about a third feel this way, with the rest wanting full- or part-time remote learning.
Dining out: The new Franklin Templeton-Gallup Economics of Recovery Study finds that families with children in the household (and possibly in need of diversions) are more willing to venture out to restaurants during the pandemic than are those without children. Also, younger adults are more likely than middle-aged and older adults to report dining out. This research also offers insights into how reducing seating capacity affects people's comfort with engaging in this once ordinary behavior.
Flying: The toll that the pandemic has taken on air travel is also reflected in the new Franklin Templeton-Gallup study. Half of U.S. adults who flew at least once in the past year now say they are not comfortable flying at all. Most of the rest would be comfortable with a short flight of under three hours rather than a longer flight.
July 27, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the U.S. -- particularly the Sun Belt states -- and Gallup's ongoing tracking survey finds that Americans' outlook is gloomy. This week's recap highlights recent findings you may have missed or want to revisit.
Americans' Assessment of Pandemic in U.S. Has Deteriorated
Americans have become increasingly pessimistic about the trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic in recent weeks. A record-high 73% of U.S. adults now say the situation in the U.S. is worsening, with a majority saying it is getting a lot worse -- marking a sharp reversal from early June.
Line graph. Percentage of Americans who believe the coronavirus situation is getting worse. In Gallup's July 13-19 survey, 73% of Americans said the coronavirus situation is getting worse and 55% believe it is getting a lot worse. Both are the highest recorded measures since trending began in April.
Behavior Not Drastically Changed Despite Heightened Negative Assessments
Although Americans believe the coronavirus situation is deteriorating, their contact with non-household members has been steady since June. Less than half of U.S. adults (44%) say they are completely or mostly isolating themselves.
Americans' plateaued social distancing may be the result of increased face mask usage. However, while almost nine in 10 U.S. adults report wearing a mask when in public, new data show that less than half of Americans (44%) always do so. Republicans are particularly less likely to wear masks.
Republican Governors' Ratings Lower Than Democrats'
Although Americans remain positive overall about the way their state governors are handling the COVID-19 situation, governors' ratings have dipped slightly -- largely due to declining ratings of Republican governors.
More U.S. Workers Returning to Workplaces
U.S. employees are returning to their workplaces in greater numbers. According to workers, employers are continuing to clean work sites and increasingly screening workers for COVID-19 symptoms and providing personal protective equipment.
Workers in one profession in particular -- K-12 teachers -- are broadly concerned about possible exposure to COVID-19 at their workplace. They are also increasingly likely to say they would prefer to work remotely because of concerns about the virus.
Line graph. Percentages of K-12 teachers and all other U.S. workers who say they are very concerned about being exposed to COVID-19 at their place of work between May and mid-July. Teachers have consistently been more concerned about exposure. Currently, 57% of teachers are very concerned while 21% of all other workers are.
Perspectives on Gallup Findings
Gallup Editor-in-Chief Mohamed Younis recently hosted two podcasts about the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.
Sonal Desai, chief investment officer at Franklin Templeton Fixed Income, and Jonathan Rothwell, principal economist at Gallup, joined the podcast to discuss the new Franklin Templeton-Gallup Economics of Recovery Study that will track U.S. consumers' readiness to resume pre-COVID-19 activities.
Gallup Podcast: What Will It Take to Get the U.S. Economy 'Back to Normal'? (July 23)
Sera Young, associate professor at Northwestern University, joined the podcast to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the global problem of water scarcity.
Gallup Podcast: A Crisis Within a Crisis: Water Scarcity Amid COVID-19 (July 17)
July 9, 2020
The number of new COVID-19 cases is surging in the U.S., particularly in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. As governors in these states grapple with how to proceed, Gallup's COVID-19 research this week finds that the public's outlook on the pandemic remains grim, but partisans' views diverge.
Here are a few notable findings:
One in Five Holding Out for a Vaccine
Americans' views of how soon they would return to their normal day-to-day activities in the absence of government restrictions have evolved over the course of the pandemic and are sharply politically polarized.
At the two ends of the spectrum, 27% would resume their regular activities "right now," and 20% would prefer to wait until after a vaccine is developed. Both of those responses have increased since March.
Meanwhile, reduced percentages would use the number of COVID-19 cases in their state as a guide -- 29% now favor waiting until there are no new cases in their state, and 24% would delay until new cases in their state drop significantly. Both figures are down from 40% in late March/early April.
Line graph. Americans' views of how soon they would return to their normal, day-to-day activities in the absence of government restrictions since early April. Currently, 27% would do so right now, 20% would wait for a vaccine, 29% would do so after no new cases in their state and 24% would wait until the number of new cases in their state declines significantly. The percentage of Americans who are waiting for a vaccine is the highest it has been.
Democrats Four Times as Likely as Republicans to Favor Waiting on Vaccine
Preferences for returning to normalcy are sharply different based on party identification. A 59% majority of Republicans currently say they would resume their daily life right now if it were up to them, but far fewer Democrats (4%) and independents (29%) agree.
For their part, Democrats (41%) are far more likely than Republicans (13%) and independents (27%) to say they would want to see no new cases in their state for a while before a resumption of normalcy. Likewise, Democrats (30%) are much more likely than Republicans (7%) and independents (18%) to say they would prefer to wait for a vaccine.
More Pessimism About the Pandemic
A record high expect the current level of disruption to last at least through the end of this year before improving. Thirty-six percent of Americans say it will continue for the rest of the year, and 42% believe it will be longer than that.
Americans' views of the coronavirus situation in the U.S. are the bleakest since Gallup began tracking the measure in early April. A record-high 44% of U.S. adults now say it is getting a lot worse, up seven percentage points in one week, and 24% say it is getting a little worse.
Line graph. Americans' impressions of the coronavirus situation in the U.S. since April 6. Currently, 68% say it is getting a lot or a little worse and 19% say it is getting a lot or a little better. Those who say it is about the same are not shown. These are the bleakest readings measured.
July 14 UPDATE: Read Gallup's new report on Americans' frequency of mask wearing and how this differs by party, gender, region and other demographics.
July 6, 2020
This week's COVID-19 research finds that as the number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. rises, Americans see the situation as getting worse and are more worried about getting the virus themselves.
Sharp Increase in Percentage Saying Situation Worsening
A new high of 65% of Americans say the coronavirus situation in the U.S. is getting worse, while 23% say it is getting better. Consequently, close to three-fourths of U.S. adults expect the level of disruption caused by COVID-19 to persist until the end of this year or longer than that. A majority of Americans are once again worried about personally contracting the virus.
Americans More Worried About Lack of Social Distancing
The rise in daily new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. comes as states are attempting to reopen their economies. For the first time, a majority of Americans (54%) say they are worried about the lack of social distancing in their local area. Eighty-six percent of U.S. adults now report wearing a face mask when outside their home, the highest Gallup has measured to date. However, Republicans remain much less likely than Democrats to say they wear a face mask in public.
Renewed Concern About Hospital Capacity, COVID-19 Testing
Gallup observed a steady decline in Americans' worry about the availability of COVID-19 tests and hospital supplies/treatment from early April through late June. However, the most recent data showed an uptick in worry about testing and hospital resources, though the level of concern remains lower than it was in April and early May.
U.S. Employees Less Engaged in Their Work
Gallup documented a sharp drop in the percentage of U.S. employees classified as engaged in their work. The early June estimate of 31% was down from a record-high 38% measured in late April and early May. Those in leadership and management positions showed some of the largest declines in job engagement.
Separately, Gallup documented significant declines in the percentages of U.S. workers who say they feel prepared to do their job, who rate their employer's and manager's communication positively, and who say their organization cares about their wellbeing.
June 25, 2020
This week's Gallup research on COVID-19 finds Americans have become increasingly confident that they can protect themselves from getting the coronavirus when out in public. They also have become less pessimistic about the effects of the coronavirus situation on the U.S. economy. A special Gallup analysis shows how news media exposure has shaped COVID-19 prevention attitudes and behaviors.
Self-Protection From COVID-19
Since early April, Americans have become much more confident that they can protect themselves from getting the coronavirus when out in public. The percentage who are "very" or "somewhat" confident has increased by 19 percentage points, with most of that growth coming in the percentage who are very confident. Much of that increase in confidence has come among Republicans.
Less Pessimism About Harm to U.S. Economy
Far fewer Americans today than in mid-May believe the economy is in a recession or depression. The percentage who say the U.S. is in a depression has been cut by about half in the past month. U.S. adults are also now less pessimistic than they were in May about the effects of the coronavirus situation on their personal finances.
Media Consumption Habits Influence COVID-19 Attitudes and Behaviors
During the coronavirus pandemic, Americans' attitudes on COVID-19 prevention methods have changed. They have become less likely to believe healthy people should stay at home as much as possible, less likely to say they always practice social distancing, but more likely to say they wear face masks when out in public. The trends in these attitudes and behaviors have varied by party affiliation.
However, Gallup finds that what type of news media people use influences their public health behaviors and attitudes over and above partisanship. Independents and Republicans who rely solely on conservative-leaning news sources are much less likely to endorse and comply with public health recommendations, compared with independents and Republicans who consume only liberal-leaning news or an ideological mix of news sources. The gap between those with right-leaning and non-right-leaning news diets has widened over time. Democrats' attitudes and behaviors are similar regardless of what types of news they consume.
June 18, 2020
As the economy continues to reopen and the percentage of U.S. adults practicing extreme social distancing continues to decline, Americans are more optimistic about their personal finances. The majority of parents prefer their children attend full-time, in-person school this fall. Still, Americans' concern about being exposed to the coronavirus shows no signs of easing.
Gauging the Financial Impact
Americans' ratings of their personal finances, and their expectations for their finances going forward, are slightly better now than they were in April when most U.S. adults were still living under stay-at-home orders. Lower-income Americans' ratings have improved more than those among adults living in middle- and upper-income households.
Gallup also documented improvements between April and May in Americans' ratings of the U.S. economy more generally. However, the latest update from early June showed no further improvement in assessments of the economy.
Looking Back on an Atypical School Year, and Ahead to the Fall
The coronavirus forced schools to shut down and required teachers, students and parents to rely on distance learning methods to complete the 2019-2020 academic year. Parents said the social aspect of distance learning -- being physically separated from teachers and other students -- was the biggest challenge they faced.
As of late May, 29% of parents said school and business closures and social distancing practices were already harming their child's mental health. Another 14% said their child could continue the practices a few more weeks before experiencing harm.
Parents were more likely to describe remote learning as being "difficult" (56%) rather than "easy" (44%) for their family. The majority, 56%, prefer their children attend school in person on a full-time basis this fall, as opposed to continuing remote learning on a part-time or full-time basis. Parents' preferences are strongly related to their level of concern about their children being infected by the coronavirus.
Social Distancing Continues to Ease
A new low of 41% of U.S. adults say they are "completely" or "mostly" isolating themselves from people outside their household. This represents a decline of 18 percentage points in the past month, and 34 points since the peak in late March/early April.