Key Findings:

  • Amid easing social distancing restrictions, the latest KFF Health Tracking Poll finds that people in the U.S. are venturing out of their homes more frequently than they did two months ago, including just over half who say they visited with close friends or family and three in ten who report dining at a restaurant in the past week. Many of those who have engaged in these activities say they are worried about exposing themselves to coronavirus when they do so, including about half who worry about exposure while shopping for essential items and four in ten who worry about exposing themselves at work.
  • Partisan differences exist, with Republicans more than twice as likely as Democrats to report dining at a restaurant (46% vs. 21%) and Democrats more likely than Republicans to say they worry about potential coronavirus exposure when they do venture out.
  • About half of adults (52%) say they or another family member in their household skipped or postponed some type of medical or dental care because of coronavirus, including 42% who personally skipped or postponed care. In May, similar shares (48%) said they or a family member skipped or delayed care due to the coronavirus. Dental care was the most likely to be skipped or postponed, followed by regular check-ups or physical exams. The most common reason for skipping care was that the provider’s office or facility was closed or offering only limited appointments (82%), but about half of those who say they or a family member postponed care say that feeling unsafe about visiting a medical facility during the outbreak was a reason for their decision.
  • The poll also examined voters’ views of the biggest problem facing the country and voter preference on who they trust to better handle issues such as health care, the economy, and the coronavirus outbreak. Voters give President Trump a slight edge over Democrat Joe Biden in trust to handle the economy, but prefer Biden when it comes to handling health care and coronavirus.

Public Reports Easing Up On Social Distancing In Recent Weeks, Though Many Still Worry About Coronavirus Exposure

As most states move to ease social distancing restrictions, the latest KFF Health Tracking Poll finds that U.S. adults report venturing out of their homes to go to work, shop, or visit friends and family more frequently than they did in April, though few say they have eaten at a restaurant or used public transit in the past week. Nine in ten (89%) say they have left their home to shop for food, medicine, or essential household items in the past week, including 61% who say they’ve done this at least twice (up from 44% in late April). Just over half (54%) say they have left home to visit close friends or family in the last week, up from 30% in April, and the share who report going to work at least once in the last week has increased from 33% to 45%. About three in ten (29%) report dining at a restaurant in the past week, but just 7% say they’ve ridden public transit (not asked in April).

Figure 1: Compared To April, Public Reports Leaving Home More Frequently To Shop, Visit, And Work

Many of those who report leaving their homes to engage in various activities are doing so with some trepidation. Among those who’ve left their homes to shop in the past week, about half (48%) say they are at least somewhat worried that they may expose themselves to coronavirus when doing so. Similarly, more than four in ten (44%) of those who’ve worked outside their home say they are at least somewhat worried about exposure to the virus at work, while just over half (56%) say they are not too worried or not at all worried. Among those who report dining out or visiting friends or family in the past week, most say they are not worried about exposure during these activities (63% and 75%, respectively).

Figure 2: Many Of Those Who Have Left Home In Last Week Worry About Coronavirus Exposure, Particularly While Shopping And Working

There are some partisan differences, both in engaging in activities outside their home, and how much they worry about exposing themselves to coronavirus when they do so. For example, Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to say they have left home to dine at a restaurant at least once in the past week (46% vs. 21%). Even when looking at only those counties with more than 25 deaths attributed to coronavirus, this partisan difference remains with Republicans in those counties more likely than their Democratic counterparts to report leaving the house to dine at a restaurant (45% vs. 20%).

Figure 3: Republicans More Likely Than Democrats To Report Leaving Home To Dine At A Restaurant, Go To Work

Among those who have engaged in each of these activities at least once in the past week, most Republicans say they’re not too worried about exposing themselves to coronavirus while shopping, going to work, dining out, or visiting friends and family. Among Democrats, most of those who’ve left their house to shop or go to work in the past week are at least somewhat worried about virus exposure (62% for each).

Figure 4: Democrats Who Engage In Activities Outside The Home More Likely To Worry About Coronavirus Exposure During Those Activities

Half Say They Or A Household Family Member Skipped Or Delayed Care Due To Coronavirus, Most Commonly Dental Care And Routine Check-Ups

While many Americans report resuming some of their regular activities in recent weeks, many report putting off certain types of medical and dental care. About half of adults (52%) say that they or another family member living in their household skipped or postponed some type of medical or dental care in the past 3 months because of coronavirus. This includes 42% who say they personally skipped or postponed care.

Figure 5: Half Say They Or A Family Member Skipped Or Postponed Medical Or Dental Care Due To Coronavirus

Women and older adults are more likely than their counterparts to say they personally skipped or postponed care. Those with higher incomes are also somewhat more likely than those with lower incomes to report postponing care, as are those with health insurance compared to the uninsured. This latter finding may reflect the fact that those with lower incomes or without insurance may use less care under normal circumstances, and so are less likely to report skipping or postponing visits due to coronavirus. Notably, the March 2019 KFF Health Tracking Poll found that about half of adults (51%) said they or a family member had skipped or postponed health care due to cost in the past year, with uninsured adults under age 65 (76%) and those with lower household income (62%) more likely than their counterparts to say they had skipped or postponed care.

Figure 6: Adults 30 And Older, Women, And The Uninsured Are More Likely To Report Skipping Or Delaying Care Due To Coronavirus

Among those who say someone in their household skipped or delayed care, the most common types of care missed are dental check-ups or procedures (71% of those who skipped or postponed care, or 37% of all adults) and regular check-ups or physical exams (58%, 30% of all). This is followed by about a quarter who say they or a family member skipped or postponed doctor visits for symptoms they were experiencing (28% of those who skipped/postponed care, or 15% of all adults), doctor visits for chronic conditions (25%, 13% of all), and preventive screenings (23%, 12% of all).

Figure 7: Most Common Type Of Care Skipped Or Delayed: Dental Visits, Followed By Routine Check-Ups

Overall, 27% of those who say they or a family member skipped or postponed care (14% of all adults) say that either they or their family member experienced a worsening medical condition as a result. When asked to name the condition that got worse, responses reflect the type of care that people report skipping or postponing, with by far the most common response being dental problems, named by 44% of those who say their own or a family member’s condition got worse after skipping care. Other responses include back, joint, or bone pain or problems (mentioned by 14% of those who say a condition got worse), eye or vision problems (7%), mental health conditions (4%), and kidney problems (4%). Since much of the care that people report skipping or delaying is in the form of routine check-ups and preventive screenings, it may be several months before the effects are recognized in terms of delayed diagnoses or missed opportunities for early treatment of cancers or other conditions.

Figure 8: Some Of Those Who Say They Or A Family Member Skipped Care Report Worsening Medical Conditions As A Result

Figure 9: Dental Problems Most Commonly Reported As Conditions That Worsened As Result Of Skipped Or Delayed Care

When asked about the details behind their reasons for skipping or postponing care amid the coronavirus pandemic, large shares report that the doctor’s office or facility was closed or offering limited appointments (82% of those who say they or a family member missed out on care, or 43% of all adults). About half (53%) of those who say they or a household member skipped care due to coronavirus (27% of all adults) say that they felt unsafe vising a doctor’s office or other medical facility during the outbreak. Far fewer (11% of those who say they or a family member missed care due to coronavirus, or 6% of all adults) cite cost or affordability concerns as a driving factor. While this question was asked specifically of those who said they skipped or delayed care because of the coronavirus, previous KFF surveys have found that prior to the pandemic, about half of adults said that they or a household family member had put off or skipped some sort of health care or dental care in the past year because of the cost.

Figure 10: Office Closures Are Most Common Reason For Delaying Care Amid Coronavirus, But Many Also Report Feeling Unsafe Visiting Facilities

Similar to results from the May 2020 KFF Health Tracking Poll, most of those who say they or a family member skipped or postponed care due to the pandemic say they expect to get the care relatively soon, with seven in ten saying they expect to get the care within the next 3 months. Indeed, with many states easing social distancing restrictions, a third (34%) of those who say they or a family member skipped or delayed care due to coronavirus expect to get care in the next month and 7% say they have already gotten the care that was delayed. Very few (2%) say they don’t expect to get the care that was skipped or postponed.

Figure 11: Most Who Delayed Care Expect To Get It Relatively Soon, Including Some Who Have Already Gotten It

Joe Biden Has Edge With Voters On Most Issues, But President Trump Trusted More To Handle The Economy

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, an economic downturn, and weeks of protests against racism and police brutality, the latest KFF Tracking Poll looks ahead to the presidential election in November and examines how voters view the biggest problems facing the country, and which presidential candidate they trust most to handle them. Partisanship has a heavy hand in voters’ views when asked to say in their own words what they think is the biggest problem facing the country, with responses like “President Trump” (named by 17% of registered voters, including 31% of Democrats and 18% of independents), “political polarization” (named by 8% of voters), and “Democrats/liberals/the political left” (named by 7% of voters, including 19% of Republicans and 5% of independents) appearing among top responses to an open-ended question. Several of the issues driving recent news also appear among voters’ list of top problems, including racism and race relations (12% of voters, 20% of Democrats), coronavirus (7%), and the economy and unemployment (5%).

Figure 12: Partisan Voters Have Vastly Different Views Of Top Problem Facing Country

This month’s poll also takes a look at the critical group of swing voters who have not yet made up their minds about their vote for president in November. At least one in ten swing voters offer racism and race relations (15%), President Trump (10%), and political polarization (10%) as the biggest problems facing the country.

Defining Swing Voters

In this month’s poll, 30% of registered voters say they are “definitely going to vote for President Trump” and 37% say they are “definitely going to vote for Joe Biden.” Overall, 29% are defined as “swing voters,” including those who say they are undecided in their 2020 vote choice (7%) or are “probably” going to vote for President Trump (8%) or Democratic nominee Joe Biden (14%) but have not made up their minds yet.

Figure 13: Swing Voters Name Racism, President Trump, And Political Polarization Among The Biggest Problems Facing The Country

When asked which candidate they trust to do a better job of dealing with various issues, more voters say they trust Joe Biden than Donald Trump in a variety of areas. This includes a roughly ten percentage point gap in favor of Biden on which candidate they trust to do a better job maintaining law and order (51% trust Biden vs. 41% trust Trump) and the coronavirus outbreak (50% vs. 41%). There are even larger gaps in favor of Biden on issues including health care (53% vs. 38%), police violence (55% vs. 36%), and race relations (58% vs. 34%). When it comes to handling the economy, similar shares of voters trust President Trump (49%) as trust Biden (45%).

Figure 14: Voters Give Joe Biden The Edge Over President Trump On Most Issues, With The Exception Of The Economy

Not surprisingly, large majorities of voters from each political party say they trust their own party’s candidate to do a better job dealing with each of the issues tested in the poll. Among independent voters, Joe Biden has the clear edge over President Trump on trust to handle race relations (58% vs. 31%), police violence (54% vs. 35%), and health care (54% vs. 37%). Independent voters are more divided on which candidate they trust to do a better job on the economy (51% trust President Trump compared to 40% who trust Joe Biden) and to handle maintaining law and order (46% trust Joe Biden and 42% trust President Trump).

Table 1: Among voters, partisans trust their party’s candidate to do a better job dealing with each of the issues compared to the other party’s candidate.
Percent of registered voters who trust each candidate to a better job dealing with each of the following: Democratic voters Independent voters Republican voters
The economy
Donald Trump 14% 51% 90%
Joe Biden 81 42 8
Maintaining law and order
Donald Trump 6 42 87
Joe Biden 91 46 9
The coronavirus outbreak
Donald Trump 8 41 84
Joe Biden 86 49 10
Health care
Donald Trump 5 37 84
Joe Biden 91 54 11
Police violence
Donald Trump 4 35 76
Joe Biden 91 54 15
Race relations in the U.S.
Donald Trump 5 31 74
Joe Biden 91 58 18

Among swing voters who are yet to make up their minds, a slight majority (53%) trust Donald Trump to do a better job dealing with the economy (compared to 36% who trust Joe Biden). However, they are more likely to trust Joe Biden than to trust Donald Trump to do a better job dealing with all other issues tested, including majorities who prefer Joe Biden to better deal with race relations (66% vs. 20%), police violence (58% vs. 25%), health care (55% vs. 29%).

Figure 15: Among Swing Voters, Biden Has Edge Over Trump On Most Issues, With The Exception Of The Economy

Racism, Protests, and Racial Disparities Methodology