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Americans Less Pessimistic About COVID-19 Situation

Americans Less Pessimistic About COVID-19 Situation

Story Highlights

  • 48%, down from 62%, say situation is getting worse
  • Declining pessimism seen in all party, regional subgroups
  • Fewer expect disruptions to last a few months

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans remain more pessimistic than optimistic about the trajectory of the coronavirus situation in the U.S., but their assessments improved considerably over the course of the past week.

In Gallup interviewing conducted April 6-9, 62% of Americans said the situation was getting worse while 25% said it was getting better. Over the weekend, the percentage seeing the situation as getting worse fell to 48%, while the percentage who think it is getting better increased to 34%.

Bar graph. Americans’ impressions of the trajectory of the COVID-19 situation in the U.S.

Partial results for this week suggest the gap in getting better vs. getting worse ratings is narrowing further.

The shift comes as the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths each day has leveled off in hot spots like New York and Detroit. As a result, the latest projections of U.S. deaths from the virus have been reduced to 60,000 from earlier estimates of at least 100,000.

Fewer Expect Disruptions to Last for a Few More Months

Americans' expectations for how long the disruptions to U.S. life will continue have also shifted, with an increase in the percentage expecting them to last a few more weeks as opposed to a few more months.

  • For the April 10-12 interviewing period, 48% expect the disruptions to last a few more months, which is down from a peak of 59% in March 30-April 2 interviewing.

  • Most of that decline has been offset by an increase in the percentage expecting disruptions to last a few more weeks, which has increased by seven points (from 19% to 26%) over the same time period.

  • Twenty-seven percent currently believe the disruptions will continue longer than a few months, tied for the high in the trend.

Line graph. Americans’ view of how long COVID-19 disruptions will continue in the U.S.

All Party Groups See Situation as Improving

Attitudes about the coronavirus situation have varied by political party identification. Democrats are much more inclined than independents and, especially, Republicans to see the situation as getting worse. However, in recent days, all party groups show at least double-digit declines in the percentage saying the situation is getting worse.

The majority of Democrats still believe the situation is getting worse, but now a majority of Republicans say it is getting better.

Changes in Assessments of Coronavirus Situation, by Political Party
Democrats Independents Republicans
Apr 6-9 Apr 10-12 Apr 6-9 Apr 10-12 Apr 6-9 Apr 10-12
% Getting a little/a lot better 9 15 21 30 46 63
% Staying the same 12 16 13 25 16 15
% Getting a little/a lot worse 79 69 65 45 39 21
Gallup Panel

Residents of all major regions of the country are less likely to say the situation is getting worse, ranging from an 11-percentage-point drop in the West to 20 points in the Midwest. Perceptions in all regions of whether the coronavirus situation is getting better or worse are now similar to the national figures.

Consistent with Republicans' optimism about the COVID-19 situation, a majority of 52% now think the disruption to daily life will last a few more weeks. Just 9% of Democrats agree, with 52% of Democrats expecting disruptions to continue a few more months. Independents' projections are more similar to those of Democrats than Republicans.

Expectations for Length of Coronavirus Disruption, by Political Party
How long do you think the level of disruption occurring to travel, school, work and public events in the U.S. will continue before it starts to improve?
Democrats Independents Republicans
% % %
A few more weeks 9 17 52
A few more months 52 55 39
For the rest of this year 32 22 5
Longer than that 7 6 4
April 10-12, 2020
Gallup Panel

Republicans' opinions of the length of the disruption have shifted significantly. As recently as April 3-5, 55% expected it to last a few more months and 32% a few more weeks. Independents' and Democrats' predictions have changed little over that time.

Learn more about how the Gallup Panel works.

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