Coronavirus Outbreak Triggering Significant Changes to American Society

New ABC News/Ipsos Poll finds major changes in behavior and concern over the last week.

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, April 3, 2020 -- The newest ABC News/Ipsos poll shows that the American public is cooling on President Trump's handling of the coronavirus outbreak. This comes as virtually all Americans report their daily routines changing because of the outbreak and almost universal concern about infection. 

  • This KnowledgePanel survey conducted April 1-2, 2020 finds that 47% of Americans approve of the way Donald Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus, down from 55% two weeks ago and 51% in last week's ABC News/ Washington Post poll. 
  • Virtually all Americans, 89%, report being somewhat or very concerned about being infected by the coronavirus, up from 79% two weeks ago. 
  • Likewise, almost all Americans, 91%, report their regular routine changing because of the outbreak. 
    • Among those affected, a majority - 56% - say they don't expect to resume their regular routine until after July 1st. 

Washington, DC, March 20, 2020 -- A new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that over the last week Americans are dramatically altering their behavior in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Additionally, approval of President Trump’s handling of the response has swung markedly positive.

Detailed Findings

1. From last week (March 11-12) to this week (March 18-19), the number of Americans who have cancelled or postponed major social activities has almost tripled:

  • This week, 72% of Americans have cancelled or postponed activities compared to only 26% last week;
  • The most dramatic changes are in not going out to dinner (now 57% from 9%), not attending religious services (now 33% from 3%), and not attending sporting events or concerts (now 32% from 9%).

2. Additionally, Americans report major shifts towards working from home or not being currently employed:

  • The number of Americans reporting that they have shifted to working from home has climbed to 17% from 3% last week;
  • Correspondingly, the number of Americans continuing to work from their regular workplace has dropped from 55% to 36% now.

About the Study

This ABC News/Ipsos Poll was conducted March 11th to 12th, 2020 by Ipsos Public Affairs KnowledgePanel® – a division of Ipsos. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 502 general population adults age 18 or older.

This Wave 2 ABC News/Ipsos Poll was conducted March 18th to 19th, 2020 by Ipsos Public Affairs KnowledgePanel® – a division of Ipsos. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 502 general population adults age 18 or older. 

This Wave 3 ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted April 1 to April 2, 2020, by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 559 general population adults age 18 or older. 

The survey was conducted using the web-enabled KnowledgePanel®, which is the largest and most well-established online 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 are randomly selected from all available households in the U.S. Persons in these households are invited to join and participate in the web-enabled KnowledgePanel®. For those potential panel members who do not already have internet access, Ipsos provides 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 methods, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and provide fully representative online samples to the research community.

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 5.1 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 1.36. 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
Vice President, US
Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025

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.

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The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Vice President, US, Public Affairs