The compliance curve: Will people stay home much longer?

From mid-March to mid-April, Gallup tracked a question asking Americans about their likelihood of complying with requests by public health officials for people to remain home for a month in the event of a serious coronavirus outbreak in their community. Over that period, the idea of long-term shelter-in-place orders went from hypothetical to actual in most communities, and Gallup eventually ceased asking the question. But it’s notable that throughout that one-month period, no more than 67% of U.S. adults said they were very likely to comply, with the rest hedging to some degree. Further, there was an arc in support: The percentage very likely to comply started at 41% in mid-March, rising to 67% by March 30-April 5. That peak occurred as nearly every state had stay-at-home orders in place and President Donald Trump endorsed the practice. However, since then, support has slipped to 62%…

While support for compliance increased among all party groups at the beginning of data collection, Democrats’ support stayed near its peak as support among Republicans and independents declined somewhat. There are consistent partisan gaps in compliance over time — with Democrats most likely to comply, Republicans least likely and independents in the middle.