Americans slow to change out-of-home behavior, even as coronavirus concerns intensify

New ABC News/Ipsos polling finds most oppose re-opening in-school instruction this fall

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington DC, July 24, 2020

The latest ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that while most are concerned about infection, Americans’ willingness to be out-of-home has only declined slightly from the ‘coronavirus lull’ in early June. This comes as most oppose restarting in-school instruction in the fall.

Detailed findings:

1. Americans are increasingly concerned about being infected with the coronavirus, although not at levels seen in early April.

  • Three-quarters (77%) of Americans are somewhat or very concerned, the highest level since May.
  • Virtually all Democrats (99%) are concerned compared to only half (52%) of Republicans.
  • Women (81%) and older Americans (ages 65+, 82%) are also more likely to be concerned.

2. A majority of Americans oppose re-opening in-school instruction this fall. However, parents are concerned about their children falling behind in their education.

  • More than half (55%) of Americans oppose re-opening schools. Democrats (78% oppose) and Republicans (79% support) are polar opposites on this issue.
  • Three in five parents (59%) are concerned about their children falling behind in their education because of COVID-19.

3. Americans are slow to change their willingness to engage in out-of-home activities in the face of the new coronavirus surge.

  • As opening day of the baseball season gets underway, fewer than a quarter (22%) of people who would normally go to a sporting event are willing to now.
  • Fewer Americans continue to express a willingness to engage in other crowded-type activities like going to a bar (27%), going to a gym (28%), going to a movie theater (27%), or attending a protest (17%). These have declined slightly from late June.
  • However, more are willing to engage in more individual-level activities like going to work (78%), getting a haircut (67%), staying in a hotel (51%), or eating at a restaurant (54%). These are all essentially unchanged from last month.

About the Study

This ABC News/Ipsos Poll was conducted July 22 to July 23, 2020 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 543 general population adults age 18 or older.

The survey was conducted using KnowledgePanel, the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult US population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households invited to join the panel are randomly selected from all available households in the U.S. Persons in the sampled households are invited to join and participate in the panel. Those selected who do not already have internet access are provided a tablet and internet connection at no cost to the panel member. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methodologies, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and findings can be reported with a margin of sampling error and projected to the general population.

The study was conducted in both English and Spanish. The data were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race, education, Census region, metropolitan status, household income, and party identification. The demographic benchmarks came from the 2019 March supplement of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS). Party ID benchmarks are from recent ABC News/Washington Post telephone polls. The weighting categories were as follows:

  • Gender (Male/Female) by Age (18–29, 30–44, 45–59, and 60+)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White/Non-Hispanic, Black/Non-Hispanic, Other or 2+ Races/Non-Hispanic, Hispanic)
  • Education (Less than High School, High School graduate, Some College, Bachelor and beyond)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West)
  • Metropolitan status (Metro, non-Metro)
  • Household Income (Under $25,000, $25,000-$49,999, $50,000-$74,999, $75,000-$99,999, $100,000-$149,999, $150,000+)
  • Party ID (Democrat, Republican, Independent, Other/None)

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.34. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on sub-samples. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.

For more information on this news release, please contact:
Chris Jackson
Senior Vice President, US
Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

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The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs