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Americans Remain Risk Averse About Getting Back to Normal
Politics

Americans Remain Risk Averse About Getting Back to Normal

Americans Remain Risk Averse About Getting Back to Normal

Story Highlights

  • Four in five still want to wait before resuming normal daily routines
  • Desire to wait growing among men, workers and city residents
  • Republicans remain more comfortable than others with resuming normalcy

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans remain hesitant about resuming their normal daily activities amid the COVID-19 outbreak according to a Gallup question first asked in late March and repeated in early April.

When asked how quickly they will return to their normal activities once the government lifts restrictions and businesses and schools start to reopen, the vast majority of Americans say they would wait and see what happens with the spread of the virus (71%) and another 10% would wait indefinitely. Just 20% say they would return to their normal activities immediately.

These views are essentially unchanged from late March.

Americans' Readiness to Return to Normal Activities
Once government restrictions on social contact are lifted and businesses and schools start to reopen, how quickly do you think you would return to your normal activities, including interacting with people in public?
March 27-29 April 3-5
% %
Immediately 22 20
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

Party ID Remains Biggest Differentiator in Eagerness to Normalize

The vast majority of all key subgroups of Americans, regardless of demographics or economic status, indicate they would wait to see what happens with the virus before resuming normal life. However, there are a few notable differences by subgroup in those willing to get right back to normalcy.

Republicans (31%), residents of small towns/rural areas (23%) and men (22%) are more likely to forecast that they'll resume their normal activities immediately.

There is no clear pattern by age with both the youngest adults (25% of those 18-29) as well as those of older middle-age (24% of those 50-64) expressing the most comfort with returning to normal immediately once government lifts restrictions. Adults aged 30 to 49 and seniors are more cautious.

Notably, there is no difference in these views by respondents' household income or whether a person is employed.

Americans' Readiness to Return to Normal Activities, by Subgroup
Immediately Wait to see what happens Limit contact/
activities indefinitely
% % %
U.S. adults 20 71 10
Gender
Men 22 68 10
Women 17 74 9
Age
18 to 29 25 70 6
30 to 49 16 76 7
50 to 64 24 62 14
65 and older 18 73 9
Type of community
City 15 75 10
Suburb 18 73 8
Small town/Rural area 23 66 11
Party ID
Democrat 11 79 10
Independent 19 71 10
Republican 31 61 8
Employment status
Working 20 71 9
Not working 19 71 10
Full response options: 1) Immediately; 2) Wait to see what happens with the coronavirus before resuming; 3) Continue to limit your contact with other people and daily activities indefinitely
Gallup Panel, April 3-5, 2020

Caution Mounting Among Men, City Residents

While the views of Americans as a whole haven't changed much on this question since March, men, city residents and political independents have grown less likely to say they would return to their daily activities immediately once government lifts restrictions.

  • Men were initially 12 percentage points more likely than women to say they would return to normal immediately (28% vs. 16%). That gap has since narrowed to five points, 22% vs. 17%.

  • Between late March and early April, residents of cities became less likely to forecast going back to normal immediately, falling from 23% to 15%. Over the same period, there was no meaningful change among those living in small towns or rural areas.

Percentage of Americans Who Would Return to Normal Activities "Immediately" Once Government Lifts Restrictions
March 27-29 April 3-5 Change
% % pct. pts.
U.S. adults 22 20 -2
Gender
Men 28 22 -6
Women 16 17 +1
Age
18 to 29 21 25 +4
30 to 49 22 16 -6
50 to 64 25 24 -1
65 and older 18 18 0
Type of community
City 23 15 -8
Suburb 21 18 -3
Small town/Rural area 23 23 0
Party ID
Democrat 12 11 -1
Independent 29 19 -10
Republican 31 31 0
Employment status
Working 24 20 -4
Not working 19 19 0
Gallup Panel, 2020

Bottom Line

Few Americans are ready to get back to normal right now, and as the country looks to the future, some segments of society have grown even less comfortable with the idea of resuming normal daily activities and interpersonal contacts.

Meanwhile, no doubt reflecting the health challenges COVID-19 is presenting in places like New York City, Detroit, New Orleans and Los Angeles, a city-country divide may be emerging in Americans' willingness to resume their normal activities when businesses and schools are allowed to reopen. After expressing similar willingness in March to return to normal immediately, city and rural/small-town Americans' views now diverge with city residents showing more caution.

Learn more about how the Gallup Panel works.


Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/308264/americans-remain-risk-averse-getting-back-normal.aspx
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