Poll: Large majority of Americans think it's more important to stay home than return to work
Only 30 percent of respondents think the top national priority should be to get the economy up and running again.
A substantial majority of Americans say remaining at home to combat the coronavirus' spread is more important than returning to work in a bid to jump-start the cratering U.S. economy, according to a new survey.
A CBS News poll published Thursday reports that 70 percent of respondents believe the country's top priority should be to "try to slow the spread of coronavirus by keeping people home and social distancing, even if the economy is hurt in the short term."
Only 30 percent think the top national priority should instead be to "try to get the economy going by sending people back to work, even if it means more people might be exposed to coronavirus."
The survey's results reflect a real-time debate playing out across the country, with the White House and state and local leaders weighing the consequences of prolonged economic shutdown against the public health benefits of continuing to restrict Americans' movements.
Announcements Monday by the governors of Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee threw the ongoing debate into stark relief, as the Republican state executives rolled out plans to reopen their economies and begin relaxing stringent mitigation measures.
But those initiatives, some of the nation's most aggressive, were met with resistance from mayors who complained about conflicting messages from various levels of government and argued the disease's threat to residents was still too dire to begin reopening efforts.
Even President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly encouraged states to open back up for business, disavowed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's plan Wednesday after it was roundly criticized as rushed and confusing.
The CBS News poll was conducted April 20-22, surveying 2,112 U.S. residents. Its margin of sampling error is plus-or-minus 2.5 percentage points.