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As Trump Snubs Restrictions to Contain Coronavirus, New Poll Shows 3 in 4 Americans Back a National Lockdown

The Morning Consult/Politico poll comes as a top Trump administration health official says of the outbreak, "You don't make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline."

A coronavirus message is seen on I-64 East in Virginia's Henrico County.

A coronavirus message is seen on I-64 East in Virginia's Henrico County. (Photo: Virginia Department of Transportation)

While President Donald Trump rejects expert opinion and pushes for loosened federal guidelines on containing the coronavirus crisis, a new survey shows the American public would support a different approach—a national quarantine.

According to the Morning Consult/Politico poll, released Wednesday, 74% of voters support a national quarantine barring outside activities save for essential trips.

Backing for such a lockdown crosses party lines.

Eighty-one percent of Democrats support a national quarantine , with 49% strongly supporting it and 32% somewhat supportive. But strong support (72%) was also voiced by Republic respondents, with 37% strongly supporting the approach and 35% somewhat supporting such a measure. Independents were widely supportive (69%) as well.

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The survey of 1,996 registered voters, conducted March 20-22, has a margin of error of +/- two percentage points. It comes as COVID-19 has infected an estimated 69,000 people nationally and over 492,000 globally, and two days after the World Health Organization warned that the United States, where cases are accelerating, has the potential to become the next epicenter of the virus. 

The poll was released the same day a top health official in the Trump administration—in comments at odds with the president's—warned about the potential timeline of the pandemic.

"Would this possibly become a seasonal cyclic thing? I've always indicated to you that I think it very well might," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the press Wednesday.

"You've got to be realistic," Fauci added on CNN's "Prime Time."

"And you've got to understand that you don't make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline," he said.

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