States across the nation are moving to gradually reopen their economies amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the latest polling suggests that Americans would rather not take any risks.
Per USA Today, according to a Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape Project poll released on Friday, the vast majority of Americans — 71 percent — say they are more worried about social distancing and lockdown measures being loosened too quickly than about the country not opening fast enough. Only 29 percent say they are more worried about restrictions not being loosened quickly enough.
On this issue, Americans do not seem to be divided along partisan lines. According to the survey, 83 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of those who identify with the Republican Party are more worried about the restrictions being lifted prematurely. Furthermore, 30 percent of Americans believe it won’t be safe to end stay-at-home orders for several months, while 12 percent believe it won’t be safe to end them for at least six more months. Only 14 percent say such orders could be nullified immediately.
In general, Americans seem to be in favor of a more cautious approach to the pandemic, with only nine percent saying “it is safe now” to reopen universities and schools, and 16 percent saying it would be safe to do so in several weeks. Forty-two percent think several more months need to pass, and 22 percent believe at least six months will have to pass until it’s safe to reopen educational institutions.
When it comes to allowing public gatherings of more than 10 people, 36 percent believe it will take several months, 23 percent say six or more months, and 21 percent say several weeks. Bars and restaurants can safely reopen in six or more months, according to 17 percent of Americans. Thirty-five percent believe these businesses can reopen in several months, and 26 percent say several weeks.
According to Robert Griffin, research director for the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, the survey suggests that most Americans would stay home and practice social distancing even if the country immediately reopened.
“You can reopen a lot of things, the bars and restaurants can come back, you can try to reopen schools and send kids back to them, you can try to have larger events occurring… for more than 10 people, but this really doesn’t mean that people are going to necessarily engage in them,” he stated.
“There’s a tendency for people to focus on people who are very loud right now,” Griffin said, but there is “a real patience that pervades most of American action.”
President Donald Trump has repeatedly argued that the economy needs to reopen as soon as possible. On Friday, he suggested that Democratic politicians would rather sink the economy than risk losing the November presidential election.