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Polls Find Growing Agreement On Seriousness Of Coronavirus Threat

As the coronavirus drags on, partisan differences over the seriousness of the threat are apparently diminishing.

A new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that three of four Americans say they're likely to avoid all or almost all of eight possible group activities, from getting on an airplane to taking public transportation or going to a bar.

Notably, neither political affiliation nor religious identity seems to matter much. Differences between Republicans and Democrats were slight, and white evangelicals were about as likely as those with no religious identity to say they would avoid group activities, even after some conservative church leaders were quoted expressing skepticism about the coronavirus risk.

The PRRI poll is consistent with others that show narrowing differences in Americans' view of the pandemic.

A review of various polls by fivethirtyeight.com, a polling aggregation website, found the gap between Republicans and Democrats reducing significantly since early March, with growing numbers of Americans in both parties saying they are concerned about being infected by the virus.

Some differences remain. The PRRI poll found that people who view President Trump favorably were somewhat less likely than others to say they would avoid group activities, and men were less likely than women to say they would stay away from other people.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tom Gjelten
Tom Gjelten reports on religion, faith, and belief for NPR News, a beat that encompasses such areas as the changing religious landscape in America, the formation of personal identity, the role of religion in politics, and conflict arising from religious differences. His reporting draws on his many years covering national and international news from posts in Washington and around the world.