Poll: Americans Slowly Breaking from Social Distancing

A food server wearing a protective face mask waits on customers at the Parkshore Grill restaurant Monday, May 4, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Several restaurants are reopening with a 25% capacity as part of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' plan to stop the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/AP Photo

The number of Americans avoiding small gatherings is dropping as millions of citizens urge federal, state, and local officials to reopen the economy, a Gallup poll released this week revealed.

While Gallup’s survey showed that the majority of Americans are continuing to avoid committing social distancing faux pas, such as attending small gatherings, the percentage has declined over the past month. Almost three-fourths of Americans, 74 percent, indicated that they have¬†avoided small gatherings in the last week, but that reflects a ten-point drop from the results taken in late March, where 84 percent indicated that they had avoided such gatherings.

“The decline in the percentage avoiding small gatherings has been accompanied by a similar increase in the percentage saying they haven’t considered doing so, from 9% to 17%,” Gallup found.

The survey also showed that Republicans are less likely than Democrats to avoid small gatherings:

Compared with their peaks in late-March, the 74% of independents and 60% of Republicans avoiding small gatherings are both down by double digits. The drop is particularly steep among Republicans whose 16- percentage-point decline in avoiding small gatherings nearly brings them back to the level they reported in Gallup’s first measure, in mid-March.

Democrats have always been the most likely to avoid small gatherings while Republicans have been the least likely, but the 26-point gap between them is the widest yet. Independents have consistently fallen somewhere in between.

Additionally, one in six Americans have indicated that they have visited someone else’s home in the past 24 hours.

“Sixteen percent of U.S. adults last week said they had visited someone else’s home or apartment, an uptick from the 11% to 13% figures Gallup has recorded since March,” the survey found.

The results come as Americans urge their leaders to reopen the economy. While some states have taken more aggressive measures than others, some officials, like Pennsylvania’s Gov. Tom Wolf (D), have faced immense backlash for threatening localities and business owners that are moving to reopen in violation of his orders.

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