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Americans Favor Travel Ban, School Closures, But 26% See Panicked Overreaction

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Americans strongly support the government’s travel bans and school closings in response to the coronavirus threat, but one-in-four think panic, not reason, is driving some decisions.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 80% of American Adults agree with the federal government’s decision to temporarily ban travelers from China and nearly all European countries to prevent the possible spread of coronavirus. Only 12% disagree. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Seventy percent (70%) think the schools in their state should be closed in response to the virus. Just 19% disagree, but 11% are undecided.

When asked which is closer to their own thinking, 64% of Americans say the numerous event closures and postponements in response to coronavirus are good thinking. Twenty-six percent (26%), however, view them as a panicked overreaction. Ten percent (10%) are not sure.

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The survey of 1,000 American Adults was conducted March 15-16, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Americans are only slightly more concerned about their personal safety as the coronavirus pandemic grows, but they’re noticeably less confident that the U.S. health care system can deal with the problem.

Sizable majorities across nearly all demographic categories support the government’s decision to temporarily ban travelers from China and Europe.

Republicans (91%) support the travel ban more than Democrats (78%) and voters not affiliated with either major party (75%) do. But Democrats (82%) are more enthusiastic than GOP (68%) and unaffiliated voters (61%) when it comes to closing the schools in their state.

Women and adults under 40 are more supportive of school closures than men and older Americans are.

Even among Americans who see the numerous closures and postponements as a panicked overreaction, 74% agree with the government’s temporary travel ban on visitors from China and Europe. But only 39% of these adults favor closing the schools in their state.

Given China’s silence and secrecy about the outbreak of the coronavirus virus, a sizable number of U.S. voters think the Asian giant needs to pay up for some of the losses the virus has caused. But there’s little war talk so far.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of Americans said in mid-February that the media tends to make the outbreak of diseases like coronavirus sound worse than they really are. Thirty-five percent (35%) disagreed, while 18% were not sure.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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