WASHINGTON – While some states are preparing to reopen after locking down for the coronavirus, less than half of Americans say they are ready to engage in several activities that would signal a return to normal life or have a large-scale economic impact, according to a new survey.
Both Republicans and Democrats showed hesitation when it came to sending children back to school, going to a concert or even riding public transportation, according to findings from the Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape Project.
But there are some activities that the majority of Americans say they would likely participate in, many of which are more personal or have a smaller economic impact. In every instance, Republicans were more likely to participate than their Democratic counterparts in those activities.
A combined 44% of Americans said if restrictions were lifted on the advice of public health officials, they probably or definitely would not send their child to school. A combined 54% probably or definitely would not ride public transportation, while 57% wouldn’t fly on an airplane.
And the least likely event for Americans to attend? A combined 60% of Americans probably or definitely would not join tens of thousands of other people for a stadium concert.
The Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape Project is a large-scale study of the American electorate. Throughout the 2020 election cycle, the researchers aim to conduct 500,000 interviews about policies and the presidential candidates.
This survey was conducted between April 16 and 23, with 5,997 Americans surveyed. There is a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2. percentage points.
The survey comes as several states, including Texas, Georgia, Alaska and South Carolina, are beginning to allow restaurants to serve customers in their buildings and some other businesses to open with social distancing guidelines. The economic impact of social distancing has been the subject of protests around the country demanding states reopen, and President Donald Trump has suggested most states could begin reopening by Friday.
Robert Griffin, research director for the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, said the survey shows that Americans are more willing to engage in activities that deal with one’s social life. But that as things like sporting events begin to restart, “it’s not clear right now that the American public is going to have a full embrace of this.”
Overall, however, Griffin noted that the majority of people who were already engaging in these activities normally “are saying ‘Yeah, I’m not going to do that right away. That’s not something that I feel confident about yet.’ “
Other activities that the majority of Americans say they aren’t ready to participate in include:
- A movie. A combined 58% said they definitely or probably would not go.
- A professional sporting event. A combined 57% said they definitely or probably would not attend.
- Going to the mall. A combined 54% said they definitely or probably would not.
- Weddings. A combined 53% said they definitely or probably would not attend.
But attending smaller, more intimate gatherings? The majority of Americans are on board with some those things.
A combined 57% of Americans said they definitely or probably would go to dinner at a friend’s house — including 66% of Republicans and 52% of Democrats.
Would you get a haircut? A combined 52% said they definitely or probably would; 59% of Republicans to 48% of Democrats.
Lifting coronavirus lockdowns:More than half of states are making moves to reopen. See the list.
A combined 50% of Americans definitely or probably would attend a funeral. Again Republicans were more likely to attend, with 58% saying they definitely or probably would, compared with 46% of Democrats.
A combined 45% of Republicans said they definitely or probably would attend a religious service, compared with 29% of Democrats. However, 26% of Democrats said they would not have done attended a religious service before the coronavirus pandemic, compared with 18% of Republicans.
In addition, there’s a 15 percentage point gap between Democrats and Republicans who say they definitely or probably would eat at a restaurant, with Republicans at 55% and Democrats at 40%.