Support slips for stay-at-home restrictions in new poll

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A majority of Americans continue to support lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but support has slipped from April, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll.

Sixty percent of Americans are in favor of requiring Americans to remain home except for essential errands, including about a third of Americans who strongly favor it. This is down from 80 percent in favor of stay-at-home orders in April.

The percentage favoring restricting gatherings to 10 or fewer people is also down, at 69 percent from 82 percent in April.

The decrease in support for stay-at-home orders is largely driven by declining support among Republicans, 70 percent of whom supported them in April. In the most recent survey, that portion was down to 45 percent, with about an equal share opposed.

Democrats’ support has also slipped, albeit less steeply. About 78 percent support stay-at-home measures, down from 91 percent in April. Only about 1 in 3 Republicans expressed concern about further infections after restrictions end, compared with 75 percent of Democrats.

A larger majority of Americans remain concerned about the risk of a second wave of the virus as a result of loosened restrictions, with 83 percent saying they are at least somewhat concerned and 54 percent saying they are very or extremely concerned.

About 80 percent said it is essential for anyone exposed to the virus to return to self-isolation, and about 60 percent said steps such as widespread testing, social distancing in public and wearing face masks are essential to safely reopening businesses and activities.

About half of Americans said an available vaccine was a necessary component of resuming public life, while another third called it important but not essential.

The poll was conducted among 1,056 adults between May 14 and May 18 using a probability-based representative sample. The margin of sampling error is 4.2 percentage points.

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