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Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans are becoming less worried about returning to "normal"

Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Note: 3.2% margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

For the first time since the pandemic began, less than half of Americans (43%) say returning to their "normal" pre-coronavirus lives would pose a large or moderate risk, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: This tipping point comes as nearly two thirds of respondents in our weekly national poll say they've gotten at least one shot.


  • Half of those with children under 18 say they're likely to vaccinate them as soon as they're eligible — a day that has come for many of them now that the Food and Drug Administration has authorized Pfizer's vaccine to be given to 12- to 15-year-olds.

The intrigue: Americans are divided over whether and when they should have to show proof of vaccination.

  • 55% support showing proof to return to their normal workplace, and 57% endorse it for attending sports events. More than six in 10 favor proof for airplane or cruise travel or hotel stays. Half or fewer support it for dining out or shopping.

What they're saying: "It's all about the vaccine," said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs.

  • "The vaccine is conditioning how Americans are engaging and seeing the world today," Young said. "As more get it, the more normal things will become."

What we're watching: 62% of respondents said they've asked family or close friends about their vaccine status, while 28% said their employers have asked them their status. Only 5% said employers are requiring them to get the vaccine.

Between the lines: Volunteering your own status is more prevalent among those who have been vaccinated, Democrats, people 50 and older and those who live in urban or suburban areas.

  • 79% of people who have been vaccinated say they've asked friends and family about their status, compared with 71% of Democrats, 57% of Republicans and 30% of the unvaccinated.

Mask behavior is relaxing as vaccinations rise and following eased guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for those who have been vaccinated.

  • 74% say they're always or sometimes masking when indoors in public places, while just 31% said they were masking when spending time outdoors with family or friends who are fully vaccinated.
  • Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to say they're wearing masks.

Details: Overall, measures of mental and emotional health continued to improve in the latest survey. And Americans who've been vaccinated are relaxing their behaviors.

  • That last group is an important one to watch because, in months past, those most eager for the vaccine also have been more worried about catching or spreading the virus and more careful about masking and social distancing. Getting the shot appears to be easing their fears and behaviors.

By the numbers: 54% of Americans overall said they'd gone out to eat, the first time that figure has surpassed 50% since we began asking the question a year ago. That included 53% of those who have been vaccinated and 57% of those who haven't.

  • Most Americans say they're still maintaining six-foot distances from others outside the home at least sometimes, but those who say they do it all the time has slipped to 40%, the lowest in 13 months.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted May 7-10 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,078 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.

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