In New Poll, 60 Percent Support Keeping Stay-at-Home Restrictions to Fight Coronavirus

Fifty-eight percent say they are more worried about stopping the virus' spread while 32 percent are more concerned with the economic fallout, a new NBC News/WSJ poll shows

A man wears a protective mask while carrying a shopping bag during the coronavirus pandemic on April 18, 2020 in New York City.
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Nearly 60 percent of American voters say they are more concerned that a relaxation of stay-at-home restrictions would lead to more COVID-19 deaths than they are that those restrictions will hurt the U.S. economy, according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

But while strong majorities of Democrats and independents are more worried about the coronavirus than the economy, Republicans are divided on the question, with almost half of them more concerned about how the restrictions could affect the economy.

The poll also finds a significant change in attitudes about the coronavirus. The percentage of voters saying they’re worried a family member might catch it has increased by 20 points since last month’s survey.

And those saying the coronavirus has changed their family’s day-to-day life in a major way has jumped by more than 50 points from the March NBC News/WSJ poll.

So much else has stayed steady in the midst of the pandemic — Trump's job rating remains unchanged in the mid-40s, a majority continues to disapprove of the president’s handling of the coronavirus, and Trump is still trailing apparent Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the race for the White House.

“We have not seen a change at all [for Trump],” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted this survey with Democratic pollster Peter Hart and his colleagues at Hart Research Associates.

But Hart cautions that a long-lasting crisis could change things for the president.

“In every crisis, we go through this coming-together phase. And then we come to the recrimination phase,” he said.

“President Trump faces some tough sledding ahead in the recrimination phase.”

The NBC News/WSJ poll was conducted between April 13-15 during a national debate over when to reopen the country amid the spread of the coronavirus that has killed more than 35,000 Americans.

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