Coronavirus upends nation, as three in four Americans' lives changed by pandemic: POLL

A new ABC News/Ipsos poll shows a far different portrait of a country.

March 20, 2020, 6:00 AM

As a deepening public health crisis rocks the nation, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Friday shows a far different portrait of a country than from only one week ago, as nearly three in four Americans now say their lives have been upended in some way by the novel coronavirus and President Donald Trump's approval for his handling of the outbreak is on the rise.

In the new poll, 55% of Americans approve of the president's management of the crisis, compared to 43% who disapprove. Trump’s approval on this issue is up from last week, when the numbers were nearly reversed. Only 43% approved of Trump's handling of the pandemic and 54% disapproved in last week's poll.

Over the course of a week, the president has shifted his approach and tone, giving daily briefings on the crisis since Saturday, alongside the White House task force leading the response to the coronavirus and announcing some severe measures to combat the virus. He's also taken on a more somber tone, saying of his own tenor "people actually liked it" as the reality of the scale of the virus set in.

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19)?
ABC News/Ipsos Poll

This week, 72% said their lives have been disrupted in some way by the coronavirus, either by canceling going out to dinner, taking a vacation, or attending religious services, among other options, a massive 46-point leap from last week when only about one-quarter of Americans said the same.

The poll conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News, using Ipsos’ Knowledge Panel, asked Americans about the disruption to their daily lives amid more urgent efforts to contain the spread of the global pandemic, Trump's response, and their concerns over contracting the virus.

During the two days in which the poll was conducted, the president signed an economic relief bill to help combat the coronavirus, ensuring free testing and paid leave for certain workers, governors and local leaders across the country have imposed more stringent restrictions on travel and day-to-day movements, trading on Wall Street was halted again after the stock market continued to plunge and the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus hiked to over 9,000 across all 50 states.

Anxiety over the coronavirus is widespread, with 79% of Americans saying they are concerned that they or someone they know will be infected, which is a significant uptick from last week when 66% said the same.

How concerned are you that you or someone you know will be infected with the coronavirus?
ABC News/Ipsos Poll

But in a parallel to last week's results, partisanship continues to be a driving factor for both concerns over the coronavirus and attitudes towards the White House's response to the outbreak.

Among Democrats, 87% are concerned about getting coronavirus, including 37% who are very concerned. Republicans remain the least concerned among the ideological groups, with 66% saying they are concerned, including 23% who are very concerned. Only 12% of Democrats and 34% of Republicans are not concerned. Independents look more like Democrats when it comes to concern about coronavirus. Eighty-five percent of Independents are concerned and 15% are not concerned.

Beyond partisanship, unease among Americans is high across all age groups, not just those most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Despite perceptions from viral videos showing young Americans dismissing concerns over the disease, 83% of 18-29 year olds said they are concerned about getting the illness, compared to 75% of 30-49 year olds, 79% of 50-64 year olds and 82% of people over 65 years old who said the same.

While the president is seeing stronger approval, attitudes towards his handling of the crisis also strongly break along partisan lines. Still, in a split from Democrats' overall attitudes, even from last week, 30% of Democrats approve, which is about double the number from last week’s poll, and 69% disapprove, down from 86%. Meanwhile, an overwhelming 92% of Republicans approve, up from 86% last week. Only 8% disapprove, compared to 11% in last week’s poll.

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19)?
ABC News/Ipsos Poll

As fears over the spread of the virus quickly increase, more Americans are changing their behavior since a week ago.

While only 17% say they are now working from home due to the coronavirus, that is significantly higher than the 3% who said the same last week. Still 36% say they are working from their regular workspace, a number that stood at 55% just last week.

This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs‘ KnowledgePanel® March 18-19, 2020, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 512 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 5.0 points, including the design effect. See the poll’s topline results and details on the methodology here.

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