Is America Ready to Re-Open?

​The public remains broadly supportive of state and local governments and the measures they are taking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but few think it will be safe to lift restrictions anytime soon, according to an April 2020 AP-NORC Poll.


​Americans remain largely supportive of how state and local governments are handling the coronavirus outbreak and the measures they are taking to prevent the spread of the virus. And, they expect these measures will be necessary for at least the near future. 

More Americans approve of how their state and local governments are responding to the coronavirus outbreak compared to last month. Compared to state and local government, fewer give the federal government or Congress high marks. 

Assessments of the federal government’s performance are driven by partisanship. Sixty percent of Republicans approve of the handling by the federal government, compared to just 25% of Democrats. Democrats highly rate state governments (73%) and local governments (71%), compared to Republicans (59% and 58%, respectively). Republicans rate leaders in Congress similarly to Democrats.

Less than half approve of Donald Trump’s response specifically to the coronavirus outbreak – like in March, 41% approve. His overall approval remains steady compared to March as well (42%).

Social distancing measures like closing bars and restaurants, postponing nonessential medical care, limiting trips out of the house, and keeping gatherings under 10 people continue to have broad support. 

While majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents approve of these measures, Democrats support them at higher rates.

Overall, 61% say the restrictions put in place in their area are about right, while just 12% say they go too far and 26% say they don’t go far enough. Republicans are significantly more likely than Democrats to feel the restrictions go too far (22% vs. 5%), yet a majority of Republicans and Democrats still feel they are about right (59% and 62%, respectively). Fifty-six percent say it is not very or not at all likely that it will be safe enough to lift restrictions on businesses and social life in the next few weeks. 

Many Americans remain concerned about being infected themselves or someone in their family being infected by the virus, with 43% saying they are very or extremely worried. Twelve percent say they personally or a close friend or relative have been diagnosed with the coronavirus by a health care provider. Worry has declined over the past month from 50% to 43%. Ameicans remain more concerned about the coronavirus (43%) than the flu (22%). 

Similar to March, 36% of Americans say things in this country are headed in the right direction, and 42% expect things to get better in the country overall in the next year.

The nationwide poll was conducted April 16-20, 2020 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,057 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.0 percentage points.