COVID-19 Tracking Poll: 75% of Californians Support Shelter in Place ‘As Long as Needed’

Previous Poll Results

Get all the results from CHCF’s surveys of California’s health care providers and the general public in this collection.

To help Californians and state policymakers understand evolving demands on the state’s health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic, CHCF is working with survey firms on two fronts. CHCF and global survey firm Ipsos are assessing residents’ desire for COVID-19 testing and their access to health care services. CHCF and Truth on Call, a physician market-research firm, are surveying hospital-based critical care, emergency department, and infectious disease physicians about staffing and the availability of testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), intensive care unit beds, and ventilators. Download the charts and data for your own presentations and analyses.

April 24, 2020 — Californians overwhelmingly support continuing to shelter in place as long as needed to curb the spread of coronavirus, according to a new tracking poll from CHCF and survey firm Ipsos.

Californians were asked which of these two statements came “closest to your opinion” even if neither was exactly right:

  • Californians should continue to shelter in place for as long as is needed to curb the spread of coronavirus, even if it means continued damage to the economy.
  • Californians should stop sheltering in place to stimulate the economy even if it means increasing the spread of coronavirus.

Seventy-five percent of Californians want to continue the statewide order, 11% say to stop the shelter-in-place order, and 13% say they don’t know or have no opinion. Only 3.6% of Californians with low incomes — defined as incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty guidelines (PDF) — want to relax the stay-at-home orders.

Support for sheltering in place is strong across all demographic groups. More than 70% of people in each age, income, and racial/ethnic group support continuation of the shelter-in-place policy, even if it means continued damage to the economy. Among Black and Asian Californians, 86% support continuing the policy (not shown in the charts below).

As policymakers begin to focus on implementation of “contact tracing” to help combat the spread of the coronavirus, Californians were asked which of the following came closest to their opinion about sharing personal information with public health officials, even if neither was exactly right:

  • I am willing to share personal information about my health, movements, and contacts with local and state public health officials in order to help them understand and combat the spread of coronavirus.
  • I am not willing to share personal information about my health, movements, and contacts with local and state public health officials under any circumstances.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents are willing to share personal information to help combat the coronavirus, 22% are unwilling to share information under any circumstances, and 18% don’t know or have no opinion. Among Californians with low incomes, 26% say they don’t know or have no opinion about sharing their personal information, significantly more than those with higher incomes.

There is a difference in support by age. Sixty-nine percent of people 65 and older are willing to share information as opposed to 44% of those 18 to 24 (not shown in the charts below).

CHCF and Ipsos added new questions this week to assess the prevalence of behaviors that may slow the spread of the new coronavirus. When asked how frequently in the last week they avoided unnecessary trips out of the home, 87.9% of Californians say they did this “all of the time” or “most of the time.”

Seventy-eight percent of all Californians say they routinely wear a mask in public spaces all or most of the time.

Strong majorities say they stay at least six feet away from others in public spaces all or most of the time — 93% of all Californians.

Ninety-four percent of Californians surveyed say they frequently wash their hands with soap and water all or most of the time.

When compared with prior weeks, more Californians say they would like to get tested for COVID-19. In three waves of polling since late March, about 10% of Californians say they hadn’t sought a test but would like to get one. This week, 14% of Californians say they would like to be tested. Twenty percent of Californians with low incomes would like to get tested, compared with 14% two weeks ago.

Consistent with past weeks’ surveys, 2% of Californians report that they have been tested in the last seven days. Only 1.6% report trying and failing to get a test.

The percentage of Californians seeing health care providers by phone or video continues to increase. Seven percent of Californians report seeing a provider by phone or video this week compared to less than 4% in the week we started asking, in mid-March. The growth in telehealth appointments is even more pronounced for Californians with low incomes: 8.9% of them say that they saw a provider by phone or video this week, compared to 1.7% on the first tracking poll in March.

The share of Californians who say their mental health has gotten “a little” or “a lot” worse over the previous seven days has declined from 27% two weeks ago to 21% now. Fewer Californians with low incomes say their mental health is worse — from 25% two weeks ago to 20% this week. Majorities of both groups say their mental health is “about the same.”

Californians continue to worry about affording treatment should they develop COVID-19. About one in three Californians says they are “very” or “somewhat” worried about COVID-19 treatment costs. Among Californians with low incomes, 45% say they are worried.

Although less than one percent of all Californians report losing health insurance coverage in the last month (1.8% for people with low incomes), 17% are “very” or “somewhat” worried about losing their insurance in the future. Among Californians with low incomes, 28% are worried about losing their health insurance coverage.

Methodology: This survey was conducted online in Ipsos’s Omnibus using the web-enabled “KnowledgePanel,” a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the California general population, not just the online population. The study consisted of 1,015 representative interviews conducted among California residents who are at least 18 years old between April 17, 2020, and April 22, 2020. The margin of error is +/-3.1 percentage points.