Americans are growing more concerned about the coronavirus, as the number of cases and deaths rise globally. The latest Economist/YouGov Poll finds Americans increasingly support quarantine for people who have been in China, and there is a rising belief that most Americans may not be taking the outbreak seriously enough.
Since the beginning of February, a majority of Americans have supported quarantining people in the United States who have recently been to China, the original location of the coronavirus. This week represents the highest numbers yet among the general public, Democrats, and Republicans.
Republican support for quarantine has grown by seven points since last week—from 75 percent last week to 82 percent now. Democrats, who generally are less supportive of strict measures like quarantines, increased their support for a quarantine 13 points in the last week, from 56 percent to 69 percent now. There is less support for barring entry for those who have been in China than there is for imposing a quarantine on them, but a plurality of Americans would bar entry, 46% to 25%. Democrats are divided, but a majority of Republicans (60%) would bar entry.
President Donald Trump gets reasonably good marks for his handling of the virus so far: more Americans (41%) approve than disapprove (31%). The public shows its usual partisan split when it comes to most things about the President: 77 percent of Republicans approve, while 56 percent of Democrats do not.
However, six in 10 Americans (60%) are not particularly worried about contracting the virus themselves. The figure is unchanged in the last week. Just one in 10 is “very worried.” Women are twice as likely (13%) as men (7%) to be very worried; African-Americans are more likely (19%) than white Americans (7%) to be very worried about experiencing coronavirus.
One of the high points in public support for President Trump has been a good economy. His approval rating for handling the economy has mostly been positive. In this week’s poll, 49% approve and 38% disapprove, almost the reverse of his overall rating (42% approve and 50% disapprove). The economy is one of the reasons that, while registered voters looking ahead to November express more support for the Democrats than for the President, by a ten-point margin this week, they believe the President will be re-elected.
This poll was conducted mostly before Monday’s and Tuesday’s stock market declines. In the poll, just one in five (20%) expected the stock market to decline in the next year. More expected it to continue rising. Should the economy become troubled, it could make the President’s campaign more difficult.