- The protests breaking out across the country aren’t representative of the American public’s views on coronavirus mitigation or their level of support for stay at home orders.
- A YouGov and Yahoo News survey published on Monday found that 60% of Americans oppose the ongoing protests, with just 22% supporting the demonstrations and 18% who said they were unsure.
- Even among Republicans, a plurality of 47% opposed the protests compared to 36% who support them.
- In the poll, a resounding 71% of respondents were more concerned about lifting coronavirus restrictions too quickly compared to 27% who were more concerned about re-opening too slowly.
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Over the weekend, a number of demonstrations protesting against states’ stay-at-home orders and closures of non-essential businesses erupted in states including Texas, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Florida, with more taking place on Monday in Ohio, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania.
The amount of coverage the protests received in the media may give the illusion that the opposition to the stay-at-home orders is almost or as close to the level of support for such measures. But in reality, the protesters aren’t representative of the American public’s views on coronavirus mitigation or their level of support for stay at home orders.
A YouGov and Yahoo News survey published on Monday found that a resounding 71% of respondents were more concerned about lifting coronavirus restrictions too quickly, compared to 29% who were concerned about lifting restrictions too slowly.
71% also said states should begin to re-open once public health officials can adequately test people and trace outbreaks, compared to 29% who said the economy should re-open as soon as possible to prevent further economic damage.
In the survey, 51% of Americans said another surge of COVID-19 cases would be “very likely” if states re-started their economies now, compared to 36% who said it would be somewhat likely. A full 67% also said they would continue practicing social distancing from others even after lockdowns are lifted.
In all, 60% of Americans oppose the ongoing protests, with just 22% supporting the demonstrations and 18% who said they were unsure.
Even among Republicans, a plurality of 47% opposed the protests compared to 36% who support them. The poll surveyed 1,597 US adults between April 17 and 19 with a margin of error of ± three percentage points.
Public officials including Dr. Anthony Fauci have warned that the protesters, many of whom were not observing social distancing procedures of staying six feet apart and not wearing masks, risk spreading the virus even further and extending the very lockdown orders the demonstrators opposed.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, “clearly this is something that is hurting…but unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery, economically, is not going to happen,” adding, “as painful as it is to go by the careful guidelines of gradually phasing into a re-opening, it’s going to backfire.”
Despite walking back his claims that he has “total authority” over individual states’ plans to re-open after coronavirus, President Donald Trump has encouraged the protests with his social media activity.
Just a day after stating that governors should have full control over how and when to re-open their states, he called to “LIBERATE” Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginian from lockdown orders in a series of all-caps tweets on Friday.
When survey respondents were asked for their opinions on Trump’s tweets, just 26% agreed with his sentiments, while 42% disagreed and 32% said they hadn’t heard of or seen the tweets.
Other surveys conducted in the past week also found that Americans overwhelmingly support stay-at-home orders and are concerned that the US will make the outbreak worse by moving to re-open too soon.
A Wall Street Journal and NBC News poll of 900 Americans conducted between April 13 and 15 found that nearly 60% of Americans were more worried that the US would move too quickly in re-opening the economy, compared to almost 30% who were concerned the US would move too slowly.
And a Huffington Post/YouGov survey conducted April 17 and 18 found that 81% of Americans support statewide stay-at-home orders, with just 8% opposing such orders. Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they were personally staying home to the greatest extent possible, compared to just 6% who said they were not.