May 14, 2020
Gallup's latest reporting on daily life amid the coronavirus pandemic finds some easing of social distancing even as a majority of Americans endorse the value of social distancing for saving lives. The partisan aspect to attitudes on COVID-19 is seen in a Gallup/Knight Foundation article about face mask usage, and it continues to color most of Gallup's coronavirus-related findings.
Resuming Visits With Friends and Family
Earlier this week, Gallup reported the biggest one-week decline in Americans' social distancing since we started tracking these behaviors in mid-March. The percentages of Americans avoiding various forms of public contact have all fallen a few percentage points since mid-April, but there was a six-point drop in the percentage avoiding "small gatherings of people, such as with family or friends" in the week ending May 3.
It remains to be seen whether resuming in-person visits with the people closest to them will satisfy Americans' need for socialization or be the breach that leads to more social un-distancing. Look for Gallup's update on these metrics next week.
What Americans Need to Get Back to Normal
A new Gallup question finds wide variation in the amount of confidence that different COVID-19 milestones or measures would give Americans to feel safe to resume normal daily activities. The "availability of a vaccine" ranks fourth in importance, but the top three -- involving testing, improved medical therapies and reduced COVID-19 cases -- are less challenging to attain.
Partisan Gaps Dwarf Other Differences on Views of Pandemic
Three Gallup articles this week underscore Republicans' and Democrats' very different perspectives on COVID-19.
These views are highlighted in two articles discussing Americans' confidence that social distancing saves lives and their use of face masks.
Although it touches on partisanship, the piece on face masks mainly addresses Americans' perceptions of the relative value of hand-washing versus the use of masks for preventing illness, including how these views have changed along with official guidelines.
And in a new blog out tomorrow, Gallup contributor Frank Newport takes a comprehensive look at the partisan nature of American attitudes on COVID-19.
Charities Among the Pandemic's Potential Victims
Charitable organizations depend on public altruism, and on individual wealth, to supply the contributions needed to run their organizations -- both resources potentially at risk due to disruption from the coronavirus.
A recent Gallup update of trends in charitable activity finds fewer Americans donating and volunteering in the past year. What that potentially means for charitable organizations today is discussed in a blog co-written by Gallup and one of Gallup's Washington, D.C., community partners.
While not directly related to Americans' personal philanthropy, an article written by Gallup's wellbeing experts provides additional perspective on the changes to Americans' mindset since the crisis began that could affect their willingness and ability to connect with community organizations.
Gallup/Knight Foundation Work Sheds Light on Media Issues
Local news organizations already on the financial brink are now facing an existential crisis due to revenue loss caused by COVID-19. New data collected in partnership with Knight Foundation show that Americans are supportive of directing federal money to local news organizations as part of coronavirus relief efforts -- although they're much more sympathetic to supporting other community businesses and local residents.
With a glut of COVID-19 information available from news sources and social media, Americans divide evenly between saying the vast amount of information makes it easier versus harder to be well-informed.
Gallup's COVID-19 Data Resources
The Gallup News homepage always features the latest findings from our ongoing COVID-19 research, and offers helpful summary pages to direct you to specific content. These include:
Additionally, links to all prior Gallup news articles on COVID-19, sorted by topic, are available here.
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 email@example.com.
Review Gallup's findings on all aspects of the COVID-19 crisis:
Past blog entries appear below.
May 8, 2020
Readers of Gallup news would not have been surprised to see this morning's BLS announcement that April unemployment was 14.7%. Gallup economist Dr. Jonathan Rothwell's analysis of Gallup employment metrics predicted the rate could be as high as 14.6% -- essentially on the money.
Here is more on those findings and other highlights from Gallup's COVID-19 news coverage over the past week.
- An expanding minority of Americans expect the disruption caused by the coronavirus to continue for the rest of 2020 or longer (37%), while a dwindling share say things will start to improve in a matter of weeks (22%). But roughly equal proportions of Americans say the situation is getting better (41%) as say it is getting worse (38%), a continuation of the shift recorded a week prior as pessimism about the virus began to decline.
- Americans' vigilance in adhering to social distancing guidelines may be waning. Fewer say they are completely or mostly isolating themselves than did so in early April, and the percentage who say they "always" practiced social distancing over the previous 24 hours has slipped.
- More than a quarter of Americans (27%) report having worshipped virtually within the past seven days. Another 4% claim to have worshipped in person, despite the coronavirus restrictions in place in most states. The combined 31% who have worshipped within the past seven days either virtually or in person is roughly in line with recent, pre-virus trends.
Unemployment and Other Economic Fallout From COVID-19
- Using Gallup Panel data on U.S. workers' employment status during April, Gallup Principal Economist Jonathan Rothwell predicted that the BLS unemployment figure for April could be near 15%. Even that underestimates the economic dislocation in the U.S., as altogether a third of workers have been laid off or have seen reduced hours because of COVID-19. That amounts to an estimated 54 million U.S. workers.
- Fifty-one percent of U.S. adults say they have been spending less money in recent months than they used to, an increase of nearly 20 percentage points from a year ago. The last time a majority of Americans reported spending less than usual was in 2010.
- Americans are concerned about the present state of the economy and believe conditions are worsening, but their six-month predictions for specific aspects of the economy are less dire -- particularly in terms of the stock market and economic growth.
Views on Key Institutions: Trump, Healthcare Providers and the Media
- Americans divide evenly when asked whether they approve or disapprove of the way President Donald Trump is handling the coronavirus situation in the U.S. Approval of his handling of the crisis is down 10 percentage points from March, including a 10-point decline among independents and a 16-point decline among Democrats.
- When it comes to handling the COVID-19 crisis, Americans continue to give their highest approval ratings to healthcare providers and medical experts. Of all the key actors responding to the crisis that Americans were asked about, the news media received the lowest approval (41%).
- Americans support directing federal money to local news organizations as part of coronavirus relief efforts, something that has bipartisan congressional support. Sixty-five percent are in favor of extending coronavirus relief aid to local news organizations, while 34% are opposed. However, funding local news is a much lower priority for Americans than providing support for local businesses or individuals affected by the coronavirus situation.
- Although attention to national and international news has fallen back to pre-coronavirus levels in recent weeks, attention to local news, though also down, remains higher than before COVID-19. Additionally, more Americans consider themselves to be "very informed" about local issues than did so last year.
International Findings on COVID-19
- According to a new, globally applicable measure developed by the World Food Programme and Gallup, women are likely to be affected differently than men regarding acute food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Perspectives on Gallup Findings
- How has Americans' wellbeing been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak? And what impact has the crisis had on how people rate their current lives and their anticipated futures?
Gallup Podcast: How Badly Has the Coronavirus Impacted U.S. Wellbeing? (May 7)
April 30, 2020
Gallup research this past week, based on recent data from the Gallup Panel and Gallup's annual Economy and Personal Finance poll, illustrates the ways in which quarantine life has become the norm for many Americans.
- A majority of Americans (59%) say they can adhere to social distancing requirements and business/school closures for "as long as is necessary" before experiencing financial hardship -- a slight increase from 54% two weeks prior.
- There is no consensus among Americans on when they would feel ready to return to normal life, but most would like to wait until they see some degree of progress in their state's reduction in new cases. Some, however, say they are not ready to return to normalcy until a vaccine has been developed, while a growing number of Americans are ready to return "right now."
|Apr 2-6||Apr 20-26||Change|
|After number of new cases in your state declines significantly||40||36||-4|
|After no new cases in your state||40||31||-9|
|After vaccine is developed||7||12||+5|
|Gallup Panel, 2020|
- Though strong majorities are likely to comply, stay-at-home orders are wearing on some groups of Americans. The percentage of Americans who say they are "very likely" to comply with public health officials' requests for people to remain home has slipped, from 67% in early April to 62% by mid-month.
- Meanwhile, increasing numbers of consumers are adapting to the times by turning to virtual doctor visits and delivery/pickup options for essential goods and services. Across all six low-contact behaviors Gallup asked about, a majority of more frequent users say they will continue to use those services.
Shaken Faith in Some Financial Investments
Gallup's annual Economy and Personal Finance survey was conducted after a massive sell-off occurred in U.S. markets and as the unemployment rate soared.
- Americans have become less likely to view stocks or mutual funds as the best long-term investment. The current 21% naming stocks as the best investment is down six percentage points from last year and is the lowest Gallup has recorded since 2012. Stockowners, themselves, have also soured on stocks or mutual funds as the best long-term investment.
- Americans divide evenly on whether it is now a good (50%) or a bad time (49%) to buy a house. The 50% saying it is a good time to purchase a home is the lowest Gallup has measured -- two percentage points below the prior low in 2006 amid the housing bubble.
COVID-19 Takes Toll on U.S. Workforce, but Retirement Outlooks Stand Firm
- Nearly one in three Americans have experienced a temporary layoff, permanent job loss, reduction in hours or reduction of income as a result of the coronavirus situation. Eighteen percent have experienced more than one of these disruptions. These impacts have been more pronounced among those in lower income brackets.
- Nonretired Americans' expectations for what their income sources will be in retirement are broadly similar to a year ago. Their estimate of the age at which they expect to retire, currently averaging 66, is similar to the average expected age of retirement recorded each year since 2009.
Americans' Retirement Outlook Largely Intact (April 28)
Healthcare Costs Deter Some Americans From Seeking Care
Gallup finds that one in seven U.S. adults report that they would avoid seeking healthcare for a fever and a dry cough for themselves or a member of their household due to concerns about their ability to pay for it.
- When framed explicitly as believing to have been infected by the novel coronavirus, 9% still report that they would avoid seeking care. Adults younger than 30, nonwhites, those with a high school education or less, and those in households making less than $40,000 per year are the groups most likely to indicate they would avoid seeking care.
Perspectives on Gallup Findings
- From Gallup Senior Scientist Frank Newport's Polling Matters blog: "An assessment of public opinion, as we have seen, does not provide leaders with a precise mandate on exactly how to proceed. The public clearly (and not surprisingly) supports the concept of saving lives by containing the virus, and if forced to choose between that and economic matters, opts for the former. … The data show that Americans want their leaders to do what is hardest -- balancing both objectives and moving forward on parallel tracks, addressing the virus and addressing the economy simultaneously."
- From the Gallup Podcast: How can the true economic pain from the COVID-19 pandemic, beyond the U.S. unemployment rate, be measured? Gallup Principal Economist Jonathan Rothwell returns to discuss the ways in which he has analyzed the number of Americans who have been harmed so far.
- From the Gallup Podcast: Many facets of U.S. work and life have had to adapt to changes resulting from the outbreak of the coronavirus -- and this includes how Gallup polls Americans every day. What are the challenges of collecting data during an international health crisis?
How Americans Are Adapting Amid COVID-19 (April 30)
April 23, 2020
Gallup research this past week based on recent data from the Gallup Panel and Gallup's annual Economy and Personal Finance poll has an "on the one hand, on the other hand" feel to it.
On the one hand, there are some signs of decreased pessimism and indications that Americans are weathering the crisis fairly well:
- Americans are sensing some improvement in the national battle to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
- They are also feeling a bit less negative about their local hospitals' capacity to serve patients (although not about the availability of testing).
- Americans' reports of their current financial situation are largely intact compared with a year ago, suggesting that the immense economic disruption taking place nationally hasn't yet transferred to most individuals.
- Americans are currently more worried about contracting the illness than experiencing severe financial hardship as a result of the disruption caused by the coronavirus.
On the other hand, there are signs of increased anxiety and persistent concern that the crisis is far from over:
- COVID-19 dominates what Americans are thinking about when asked to name the most important problem facing the country.
- Americans aren't easing up on social distancing, suggesting that fear of contracting the illness remains a key factor in their willingness to reopen society.
|Completely||Mostly||Partially||A little||No effort|
|Mar 30-Apr 5||28||47||17||6||3|
|Response options: 1) Completely isolated yourself, having no contact with people outside your household; 2) Mostly isolated yourself, having very little contact with people outside your household; 3) Partially isolated yourself, having some contact with people outside your household; 4) Isolated yourself a little, still having a fair amount of contact with people outside your household; 5) Did not make any attempt to isolate yourself from people outside your household|
|Gallup Panel, 2020|
- There is significant anxiety about the future when it comes to personal finances, with half of Americans saying their financial situation is worsening.
- Unemployment, specifically, is rattling people, with a quarter saying it's likely they could be laid off within the next year.
Important Research on Social Distancing
In addition to the above findings, Gallup News this past week featured an article by Gallup Principal Economist Jonathan Rothwell analyzing the precise number of people that Americans are coming into contact with. It shows that while most Americans are broadly engaged in social distancing, some people are able to isolate themselves far more than others.
The eye-popping statistic is that those who report they are "mostly" isolating themselves generate about five interpersonal contacts per day, compared with an average of 52 among those not attempting to isolate themselves. Going to work plays a big role in how well people are able to isolate themselves, as do efforts by workplaces to mitigate social contact among workers.
A New Normal Emerging in Retail and Healthcare?
Americans have been gradually increasing their use of grocery delivery, curbside pickup and virtual doctor visits since March, with most of them saying they will continue to rely on these and other low-contact services after the national lockdown ends.
April 16, 2020
Here's what we've learned this week:
Relief Money Is Essential for Half of Americans
Government relief payments can't come soon enough for the 35% of Americans who say they will use the money to pay bills and the 16% who will spend it on essentials like food and gas.
Americans Are Prioritizing Health Over 'Normalcy'
Two articles this week underscore Americans' commitment to social distancing. U.S. adults are maintaining peak levels of separation from non-household members and plan to keep doing so until it's clearly safe to resume their normal daily activities.
Read about the percentages avoiding small gatherings, public places and travel throughout the crisis:
Learn who is eager to get back to normal quickly after the government lifts restrictions and who would rather wait for stronger indications that it's safe to do so:
|March 27-29||April 3-5|
|Wait to see what happens with the coronavirus before resuming||69||71|
|Continue to limit your contact with other people and daily activities indefinitely||9||10|
|Gallup Panel, 2020|
Crisis Is Taking a Toll on Emotions
The percentage of Americans classified as "thriving" has dropped to the lowest level seen since the Great Recession. Similarly, self-reported feelings of stress and worry are up, while enjoyment is down.
In U.S., Life Ratings Plummet to 12-Year Low (April 14)
Although majorities of Americans say they can endure social distancing practices and business/school closures for "as long as is necessary" when it comes to their finances and physical health, they are less sure their emotional or mental health will last more than a few more months.
Online Shopping and Curbside Pickup Gaining Users, but Slowly
Relatively few Americans say they are using low-contact means of getting food, groceries and other supplies into their home more often than they did before the crisis. However, a few services may be catching on as the national lockdown continues. In particular, increasing percentages say they are using grocery delivery (14%) and curbside pickup (22%) more often than did so the week prior. Younger and higher-income adults are at the vanguard of using these and other low-contact services.