Two-thirds of Americans concerned states will lift restrictions too quickly

More than two-thirds of Americans — 68% — are concerned about their respective states being reopened too quickly.


More than two-thirds of Americans — 68% — are concerned about their respective states being reopened too quickly, and with a growing partisan divide, according to a new poll from Pew Research Center.

Pew asked respondents which was their greater worry: opening up too soon or leaving restrictions in place too long. Nearly a third (31%) view restrictions not being lifted quickly enough as the greater concern. Republicans are increasingly becoming more likely to see not opening up quickly enough as a greater concern while Democrats remain steadfast in the worry that states will reopen too quickly.

As some states begin reopening at the urging of President Donald Trump, tensions are rising with Americans worried that this will increase cases in the U.S. and lead to a "second wave" of increased coronavirus cases.

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"Will some people be affected badly? Yes," Trump said on Tuesday. "But we have to get our country open, and we have to get it open soon."

The president has received pushback from some Democratic governors while others, such as Republican Govs. Brian Kemp of Georgia and Ron DeSantis of Florida have followed Trump's urgings to reopen, with some resistance from residents of the states.

The number of Americans who say they're concerned about restrictions being lifted too quickly are about the same as in an early April Pew poll, but with a slight partisan shift: Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are expressing more concern that restrictions would be left in place too long.

In May's poll, 53% of Republicans said leaving restrictions in place too long was their greater worry, up from 48% in April. Democrats and Democratic-leaners have moved in the opposite direction and are more concerned they will be lifted too quickly: 87% say they are more worried about restrictions being lifted too quickly vs. 81% in early April

The shift on the Republican side has been concentrated among those who call themselves conservative. Just over three out of five (61%) conservatives are worried the restrictions won't be lifted quickly enough versus 38% among those Republicans and Republican-leaners who consider themselves moderate or liberal.

When asked about the restrictions in place in their local area, about half of Americans say the local restrictions are about right (48%) while 27% say there should be more restrictions in place where they live and 24% say there should be fewer restrictions where they live.

Among Republicans and Republican-leaners, 44% say there should be fewer restrictions, 39% think the current restrictions are about right and 16% want to see more restrictions. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, 56% say the current restrictions are about right, 35% want to see more restrictions and just 8% say there should be fewer.

The poll from the Pew Research Center was conducted April 29 through May 5 among a random national sample of 10,957 adults surveyed online. Results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 1.4 percentage points.