Poll: 81 percent say keep social distancing despite damage to economy

Americans overwhelmingly support continued social distancing measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic despite the impact on the U.S. economy, a new poll finds.

In the Politico/Morning Consult poll released Wednesday, 81 percent of respondents say Americans should “continue to social distance for as long as is needed to curb the spread of coronavirus, even if it means continued damage to the economy.”

By comparison, only 10 percent called for the Trump administration to “stop social distancing to stimulate the economy, even if it means increasing the spread of coronavirus.” Nine percent of respondent had no opinion. 

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While the majority stretches across all ideological divides, Republicans were slightly more likely to support reopening the economy, a prospect raised by President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate MORE in recent days and dismissed by some of the nation's leading governors, some of whom have entered into regional discussions about opening businesses up in the weeks ahead.

Further driving home Americans' priorities in the poll was a question on whether the government now has a greater responsibility to manage the virus's spread or the overall health of the economy. Seventy-five percent of respondents say the government should focus on the virus, while 17 percent chose the economy.

Just 37 percent say Americans should be allowed to return to work while the virus is still active.

“Public trust in the safety of interacting with other Americans is a necessary precondition for being able to reignite the U.S. economy,” said economist John Leer, according to Politico. “If Americans believe that their eating at restaurants or spending time in an airport jeopardizes their safety, loosening restrictions on businesses is not a sustainable economic solution.”

The Politico/Morning Consult survey contacted 1,990 registered voters between April 10-12. The margin of error is 2 percentage points.