Americans See Coronavirus as a Threat to the Economy, but not Their Daily Lives

Majority want to see more widespread diagnostic testing, mandatory quarantines, and restricted immigration.

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, March 12, 2020 — A new USA Today/Ipsos poll finds that nearly half of Americans believe that the coronavirus outbreak poses a high threat to the stock market (47%) and to the global economy (47%), while less than one in five believe it poses a high threat to them personally (15%). Over half are concerned that someone in their city or town will be diagnosed (54%) and, for parents with children under 18, that their child’s school(s) will close (52%). While a majority report that they plan to wash their hands more frequently (59%), just a quarter say that they plan to stop attending social events, and less than one in five plan to cancel a personal trip (17%). Three in ten Americans report no plans to take preventative measures against the outbreak (30%).

Half say they would not travel on a plane right now, compared to 44% who would. That number is even higher among Americans over age 55 (58% would not travel by plane). Americans are evenly split on whether they would take public transportation (45% agree they would, 47% would not). Only one in five are willing to go on a cruise right now (22%). In terms of a government response, a large majority of Americans want to see the COVID-19 test made widely available (87%), and three-quarters want the government to impose mandatory quarantines for people returning from high risk countries (77%) and temporarily stop immigration from high risk countries (76%). There is an even divide on whether all large-scale events, such as sporting events and music festivals, should be canceled (39% yes, 39% no). While a plurality support temporary financial help for airlines and other affected industries (42%), just 22% want all domestic flights grounded. More (39%) are in favor of grounding all international flights.

Among all Americans, The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is the most trusted organization for providing accurate information on the coronavirus outbreak (79%), with The World Health Organization the next most trusted source (71%). Democrats are significantly more likely to trust the World Health Organization (86%) compared to Republicans (64%). About two in five Americans trust the news media to provide accurate information (39%), though Democrats are significantly more likely to trust the news media (56%) than Republicans (23%). On the other hand, Republicans are significantly more likely to trust President Trump (72%) and Vice President Mike Pence (71%) to provide accurate information compared to Democrats (14% and 16%, respectively).

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between March 10-11, 2020 on behalf of USA Today. For this survey, a sample of 1,005 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The sample includes 408 Republicans, 420 Democrats, and 109 Independents.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,005, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.0 percentage points).

The poll also has a credibility interval of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points for Republicans, plus or minus 5.5 percentage points for Democrats, and plus or minus 10.7 percentage points for Independents.

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

Kate Silverstein
Media Relations Specialist, US
Public Affairs
+1 718 755-8829

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).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP


The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs