Newsy/Ipsos Poll: As states re-open, most Americans not yet comfortable returning to public places

Courtney Lewis
May 18, 2020 · 4 min read
Credit: AP / Sudhin Thanawala

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, a new Newsy/Ipsos poll released Monday, May 18 finds that the number of Americans who are watching the news more the normal has decreased since mid- April. A majority agree that keeping up with COVID-19 news is overwhelming, and half are seeking out other news unrelated to the pandemic. Around half of Americans continue to agree that they feel lonelier since social distancing began, and there are signs that people are starting to relax their stance on social distancing with most reporting they met at least once with a friend or family member they do not live with in the last two weeks. Even so, most are not comfortable going to restaurants, salons, movie theaters, and other establishments as soon as they reopen.

Detailed Findings

  1. The number reporting that they are watching the news more than normal has decreased by double digits since last month.
  • Currently, 29% say they are watching the news more often than normal over the past week, a decrease of 16 percentage points from mid-April (45%). More than one in ten (12%) did not watch the news at all in the past week.
  • Seven in ten (72%) agree that keeping up with COVID-19 news is overwhelming, and half (51%) are seeking out more news and information not related to the virus.

2. A majority of Americans continue to report feelings of loneliness. However, many have met up with a friend or family member in-person over the last two weeks.

  • More than half of Americans (54%) still agree that they feel lonelier since social distancing began, unchanged from last month (55%).
  • Around one in ten (12%) have sought out therapy since the pandemic began, with 46% saying it was their first time seeking it. Among those that have sought out therapy, men are significantly more likely than women to say they did so for the first time (63% vs. 21%).
  • Thirty-nine percent have met up with someone outside of their household once or twice over the last two weeks, with another 20% meeting up with someone 3 or more times. Among those that saw someone outside of their household, three quarters (73%) met up outside. Two thirds (67%) came within six feet of someone they do not live with, but far fewer (39%) touched a shared surface without sanitizing after.

3. Most Americans are not yet comfortable returning to pre-coronavirus public places, like salons, bars, and gyms.

  • Less than half of Americans are comfortable going to a hair salon or barber (49%) or a dine- in restaurant (44%), and even less are comfortable going to a movie theater (30%), bar (27%), and gym or workout studio (27%) shortly after they reopen.
  • More than half (66%) of employed Americans would be comfortable returning to work soon after their workplace reopens.

4. Interest in the presidential election has stayed level for most (54%), with Democrats more likely than any other group to say their interest has increased. Across the board, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris draw the most excitement as Joe Biden’s potential running mate.

  • Just under half of Democrats (48%) say their interest has stayed the same, compared to 61% of Republicans and 60% of Independents. At the same time, 35% of Democrats report an increased level of interest, compared to just 25% of Republicans and 17% of Independents.
  • Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris would garner the most excitement if chosen as Joe Biden’s vice presidential nominee, with over half of Democrats expressing excitement for each (54% and 53% respectively).

These are the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between May 13–15, 2020 on behalf of Newsy. For this survey, a sample of 2,009 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for all respondents.

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 www.ipsos.com

Newsy Company News

Be informed — not influenced — with Newsy’s…

Newsy Company News

Be informed — not influenced — with Newsy’s straightforward, opinion-free approach to news. Get the facts without pundits and opinions. For people who aren’t satisfied getting only the loudest part of the story, Newsy delivers honest, in-depth context on stories that matter.

Courtney Lewis

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Newsy Company News

Be informed — not influenced — with Newsy’s straightforward, opinion-free approach to news. Get the facts without pundits and opinions. For people who aren’t satisfied getting only the loudest part of the story, Newsy delivers honest, in-depth context on stories that matter.