Mar 18, 2020 - Economy & Business

Poll: Americans' access to necessities worsens


Data: Axios/Ipsos survey of 1,092 U.S. adults, conducted March 13-16, 2020. Margin of error of ±3.2 percentage points; Chart: Axios Visuals

Even with the brunt of store closings yet to take effect, a full 45% of Americans said last week that their ability to buy food and household goods had deteriorated, according the newly launched Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

What it is: A weekly poll introduced last week by Axios and the global research firm Ipsos will monitor the effects of the global pandemic on people's attitudes and living conditions.

  • Among respondents who said that their access to necessities had worsened, the largest number lived in the South, compared with those in the Northeast, Midwest and West.

By the numbers: In other notable results from the poll's debut, 44% of the 1,092 respondents said that their 401(k) retirement account had gotten "a little worse" or "a lot worse" since the virus started sending markets haywire.

  • A full 10% of respondents said they had been furloughed, suspended or otherwise told not to work in the last few weeks.
  • Among respondents who were employed, 21% said they had been asked to work remotely or at home.
  • And 34% said their employers had asked them to forgo in-person meetings in favor of video or telephone conferencing.
  • 47% said they had been planning to attend a conference, event or meeting that was cancelled because of coronavirus.

In terms of shopping, the results showed that people were just starting to feel the effects of store closures and virus-induced hoarding or emergency stockpiling.

  • 11% said they had attempted to shop at a store that they had found shuttered.
  • 30% said they had tried unsuccessfully to buy hand sanitizer; 24% said the same about toilet paper, and 8% about soap.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted March 13-16 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,092 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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