Poll says Texans’ hopes for quick return to pre-coronavirus life are fading

Pharmacist Emily Smith opens a cooler for a patient to place their self-swab coronavirus test at a Walmart drive thru testing site in McKinney on June 29.      Shelby Tauber
Pharmacist Emily Smith opens a cooler for a patient to place their self-swab coronavirus test at a Walmart drive thru testing site in McKinney on June 29. Shelby Tauber

Texans remain focused on the coronavirus pandemic and are less optimistic about returning the state to normal quickly, according to polling by the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas.

Most Texas registered voters (57%) characterize the coronavirus as “a significant crisis,” while another 29% call it “a serious problem but not a crisis. That’s a shift from April, when a University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll found 66% calling it a significant crisis and 26% calling it a serious problem.

Their assessments of pandemic responses have soured. In the latest survey, 46% of voters say efforts to deal with the coronavirus in the U.S. are going well — down from 56% in April. Asked about the efforts in Texas, 47% say things are going well — down from 66% in April.

They’re also less optimistic about getting activities like social gatherings and sporting events back to normal. While 21% think that we’re already at the point where things can return to normal or will be in the next few weeks, 30% thought that was the case in April. Then, 41% thought things would be back to normal within the next few months; that’s fallen to 22%. Now, most think it will be back to normal in the next year (29%) or in a year or more (26%).

A large majority of voters (65%) say it would be unsafe to send their kids to school right now. Asked about vaccines, 59% say they would get a shot to prevent coronavirus if one were available at low cost, while 21% say they wouldn’t and 20% were unsure. Asked whether they think parents should be required to have their children vaccinated against infectious diseases, 75% say yes, 14% say no and 11% were either unsure or had no opinion.

Voters are a little less worried about the spread of the virus in their community — a percentage that stood at 47 in June and 55 in April. Likewise, 48% are “extremely” or “very” concerned about themselves or someone they know getting infected, down from 54% in April.

Three-fourths would agree to mandatory 14-day self-quarantine if notified they had come into contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. If contact tracing were in place, 71% say they would provide a list of people they’d been in contact with and 66% would agree to weekly testing to track the pandemic. But only 46% say they would provide access to their cellphone location data if they tested positive.

Most (74%) are confident they’d be able to get tested for coronavirus if they thought they needed to.