Closed for business sign

Most want to wait to re-open the country

A survey of 20,000 Americans earlier this month found that a clear majority wanted to wait until at least mid-June to start re-opening the country for business again. But an increasing number of Republicans want it to happen more quickly.

Those are the findings of political scientist James Druckman, who is working with researchers at Harvard, Northeastern and Rutgers universities on a “state of the nation” survey investigating the impact of the pandemic.

The survey showed that the number of Republicans who wanted to re-open the country “immediately” jumped from 9 percent in the first wave of the survey (conducted in April) to 19 percent in the second (completed in mid-May).

But even though the results show a growing partisan divide, they also reveal that most Americans are in alignment on other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. A clear majority of both Republicans and Democrats either “approve” or “strongly approve” of the following measures:

  • Asking people to stay home
  • Requiring businesses to close
  • Canceling sports and entertainment events
  • Closing K-12 schools
  • Limiting restaurants to carry-out only
  • Restricting international travel to the U.S.
  • Restricting domestic travel

Generally speaking, though, Republican support for such measures is less than that of those identifying as Democrats.

Areas where the partisan divide is more apparent include the fear of infection (24 percent of Republicans are worried, versus 39 percent of Democrats), and efforts to make voting by mail easier (44 percent of Republicans support such efforts, compared to 81 percent of Democrats).

The survey also found a 7-percent increase in mask-wearing across the board since the first survey was undertaken in April.

Read the full report.