No, 68 Percent of Americans Did Not Say They Would Avoid 'Normal Life' Until There's a Coronavirus Vaccine

CNN badly misreported a Gallup poll.


Two-thirds of Americans said they would not return to "normal life" until a vaccine becomes available for COVID-19, according to CNN.

The ramifications of this finding would be well worth discussing, since the timeline for a vaccine is unknowable: It could be available next year, in three years, or never. But it turns out that the headline, "68% of Americans say a vaccine is needed before returning to normal life, new survey finds," is fake news.

The CNN article cites a Gallup poll as its source. But Gallup did not poll respondents on the question of whether a vaccine was "needed before returning to normal life," which was CNN's wording of the question in the headline.

The actual question was "How important are each of the following factors to you when thinking about your willingness to return to your normal activities?" The option "availability of a vaccine to prevent COVID-19" was important to 68 percent of respondents. That's quite different: A vaccine could be "very important" to people without being absolutely mandatory.

The difference is a little clearer later in the article, where CNN uses the exact language from Gallup—but buried under a lot of other information.

This misinterpretation of the poll was first noticed by Arc Digital's Nicholas Grossman, who called it "an egregious misreading."

Updated at 5:00 p.m.: CNN changed the headline and posted a clarification.

NEXT: Quarantine Fatigue and the Social End to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. JFC just come out and say these media outlets lie already. It will be invigorating!

    1. He did call it fake news.

        1. Katherina Loran Make money online from home extra cash more than $18k to $21k. Start getting paid every month Thousands Dollars online. I have received $26K in this month by just working online from home in my part time.every person easily do this job by just open this link and follow details on this page to get started… Read More Details

      1. It’s fun watching journos dance around the issue that journalists lie their fucking faces off.

    2. Stop trying to restrict a free and independent press, the guardians of democracy, from criticizing your corrupt, Russia-backed “President”.

      1. You are way better than OBL Rabbi; thanks for showing up and giving us some fresh parody.

        Not that OBL is bad, but his schtick is just so kocker.

        1. Agreed, he almost got me this time before I realized who it was.

          1. Sarah Paul Walker, Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me• LMS I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month••• The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start•••

            This is where to start… For More Detail

      2. He’s not just a “Russia-backed ‘President’,” he is a Russian. Can’t we all just agree on that? Where the hell is Joe McCarthy when we really need him?

  2. At what point do you stop saying they “misrepresented”. They didn’t do it by accident. They did it intentionally. They do it all the time and yet no matter how many times these asshats run their credibility through the paper shredder, 80% of the Reason staff gives them the benefit of the doubt. Understand this; if you are going to call yourself libertarian, you are fundamentally against the state and its actors. The corporate “news” is one of those actors whether or not it is an official capacity. Start treating them as hostile instead of apologizing for them. This gee wiz, they seem to have made an oopsie bullshit does not look good for your own intelligence Robby.

    1. To use Robbie’s favorite turn of phrase, “to be sure,” in the second paragraph he does refer to it as “fake news.” That’s probably as close as you’re going to get to seeing a fellow journalist call another journalist a liar. Most of reason’s contributors (with the possible exception of Tuccille) are journalists first, libertarians second.

      1. “libertarians second.”

        And in several cases, you’re being generous

        1. Yeah, let’s go with “They’re journalists who can spell ‘libertarian’. Probably.”

      2. If you want a good explanation for why the trajectory of the country is always towards a larger and larger state, it’s because people like Robby who are supposed to oppose it are scared shitless of throwing a punch. Just be warned, your opposition has no such reservations.

        1. Mmmm I don’t think as a writer Robbie think it is his job to do anything other than write content.

          1. To be sure.

        2. Just be warned, your opposition has no such reservations.

          It’s civil libertarianism at its finest. Their right to swing their fist ends just this side of the amount of damage they can do to you before you decide it’s *necessary* to incur court costs. Your right to swing your fist ends well before anybody on Twitter could shame you for it.

    2. Why would you assume they misrepresented by accident? There is nothing in that word that implies it was not intentional. Perhaps Robby thinks we are smart enough to draw our own conclusions about the nature of CNN’s misrepresentation and don’t need to be explicitly instructed on who is lying and who is not.

      1. I think there’s just no ‘good enough’ for some people. Reason also tends to have a fairly chill tone.

        I’d also say it’s good habit to not assume intentions (even when seemingly obvious) in your reporting.

    3. I’m just glad this whole thing might result in more personal distance becoming standard. I get tired of the mouth breathers being all up in my shit in grocery store lines and ATMs. The 6ft rule is very endearing.

      1. I hope you are willing to stand 6′ back when the guy/gal in front decides to rearrange the packing in the grocery bag.
        I’m not. If you are that person, I’m going to be breathing down your neck.
        You don’t like that? Lock YOUR ass inside and stay there.
        Fuck off.

        1. You dumb asses, that is why the economic reboot is going to stall. Dumb ass rednecks who think wearing a mask shows everyone else that they have a little dick, instead of it being a sign of politeness. If you can’t do the social distancing in public, and don’t wear masks, and yes, wash your hands you filthy pig, then the economic reboot will fail due to an increase in transmission and a lack of consumer confidence and spending.

    4. Bitch, i’ll barf in your fucking ass

  3. CNN badly misreported a Gallup poll.

    What a shock.

    1. Please say it isn’t so.

    2. You had me at “CNN badly misreported”.

      1. You had me at “CNN”.

    3. They should just change their name to TDS already.

  4. pic is Downpressor Man.

  5. CNN being full of shit is not news.

    1. whoa, meta.

  6. Even if it wasn’t a misrepresentation its essentially meaningless. As time goes on that number will fall with or without a vaccine just because people will be less and less willing (and less and less able) to avoid normal life

  7. “Two-thirds of Americans said they would not return to “normal life” until a vaccine becomes available for COVID-19, according to CNN.”

    And what does “normal life” mean to people?

    Does that mean they don’t want to go back to work or does that mean they’ll move their desks more than six feet away from their coworkers–until there’s a vaccine?

    You know the best way to find out what people really want?

    That’s right, let them actually do what they want!

    Until people actually need to make tough choices, there’s no way to know–certainly not by polling them. I’m sure a nice fat chunk of them would say they’d run back into a burning building to save their child, and I’m sure plenty of them would do so in that situation, too. But there’s no way to know what they would really do in that situation for sure until they’re in that situation.

    This is the ultimate truth of markets.

    Some people say they’d rather not buy products made in China–even while they’re loading their shopping carts full of Chinese made products at Walmart. That isn’t incoherent. That’s normal.
    People care about different things to different degrees at different times, and people sometimes make tough choices between two mutually exclusive things they care about to varying degrees. It’s possible to both disapprove of the way China treats its people and to want to save money for yourself and your family by shopping at Walmart. What do you care more about?

    This is the primary problem with representative democracy–it’s insufficiently democratic when compared to markets. You get to vote for a candidate based on how you feel about an issue (like opening the economy vs. saving people from the virus in spite of themselves) once every four years–and then if your candidate wins, that elected representative supposedly represents you on other issues that had nothing to do with the reason you voted the way you did? In markets, you get to express your opinion on every issue yourself every time you buy something and every time don’t buy something–over and over again, each and every day.

    Surveys suffer from some of the same problems as elections–even when they’re conducted correctly. The question isn’t even really about whether you want to stay isolated–which you would still be free to do so even if the economy were reopened. The real survey question is about whether you want other people to be forced to isolate themselves against their will. There are certainly people who want to force others to do things they don’t want to do themselves–even if they say they want to do them.

    So, if you want to see what people really want, why go by surveys? Why not see what people really want and let them make choices for themselves? The reason is because they don’t really care what people really want. What they really want is for the results of the survey to rationalize forcing others to do whatever they want.

    1. A revealed preference is worth 1,000 words.

  8. It would be news if CNN didn’t misrepresent something.

    1. This. They have no shame.

    1. Leading government stooge Anthony Fauci on Tuesday warned Congress that his premature ejaculation could lead to additional allegations by his wife in her divorce pleadings.

      The tyrants deserve nothing but our scorn.

    2. The curve that we successfully flattened could spike again and our herd immunity could drop back to the point where we’re susceptible again. Duh.

      Also, stocks look strong unless there are some underlying market forces that haven’t been accounted for and we should have sun tomorrow as long as the cold front holds off.

      Seriously, this shit has been hokum for quite a while now, if CNN et al. had even the slightest of investigative bones in their body, they’d have been calling these people out on their shit for a decade at least.

  9. If I’m not attributing to malice what I can chalk up to stupidity, I would assess that journalists like this one at CNN simply do not understand how to read survey results accurately. This is shown time and again by science and medical reporting. Most journalists simply can’t accurately make sense of most data reports. Take a research or stats class. Be better.

    1. You’re being generous. I’ll go with lying mother fuckers.

      Should we conduct a poll? Are journalist dumb as shit or are they just lying mother fuckers who spin every story according to their preferred narrative? This inquiring mind wants to know.

        1. Absolutely

      1. I am being generous.

      2. Couldn’t they be both? Can dumb people tell lie? Yes. Are some liars stupid? Yes, I would actually go with most liars are stupid, that is why they get caught.
        So, Yes, and Yes.

      3. All of the above.

  10. I don’t think we should pay attention to CNN it just drives clicks there way and frankly their viewership and articles are not read or watched by anyone going by their ratings.

    1. It is my understanding that CNN viewership has dropped significantly since the shut-down due to the pandemic.

      Now that travel has dropped off significantly, no one is in all those hotels, restaurants and airports where it’s the only place most people get exposed to it.

  11. Some people–including our so-called journalists–are enjoying the lockdown too much. These are people who have an assured paycheck, natch.

  12. Polls consistently show that 68 percent of Americans support mass transit, too. Not that they intend to ever use it, of course, but they sure do support everybody else using it so they can have the roads to themselves.

  13. Mass Transit is important, especially to people who reside in urban areas. People have to wear masks when in public, and to maintain the social distance of six feet or greater from other people. Those who don’t do either of those things are helping to extend the stay-at-home advisories/orders by a lot. A lot of these people really don’t give a shit who they end up killing as a result. If these young adults are old enough to go to college and/or have jobs, they’re old enough to understand that the social distancing and the stay-at-home advisories/orders are necessary.

    1. Ok Karen.

    2. “…A lot of these people really don’t give a shit who they end up killing as a result…”

      And a lot of lefty assholes like you make up lies like this in the hopes of controlling other people.
      Hint: Your health is *YOUR* concern, not mine. Terrified of catching something? Lock YOUR ass in and don’t come out
      Oh, and fuck off, slaver.

    3. Necessary according to whom?

    4. You are completely wrong.
      Social distancing and mass mask wearing are not going to prevent a single death.
      They only slow the rate of transmission.
      The same number of people are going to contract corona virus and the same percentage will die whether we quarantine, mask and distance…or don’t.
      Nothing can be done to stop the spread through the population until enough people are immune to produce herd immunity.
      (Unless a vaccine is found, but none are near ready)

  14. Joke will be on these morons if it turns out there is no vaccine, right?

    Remind me again how that SARS vaccine is going?

  15. The questions in such incidents are as follows:
    1. Is the media lying?
    2. Is the media incompetent?
    3. Is it some combination of #1 and #2?

    The knee jerk response by most critics is #1. Yes, media liberal bias IS rampant. But that’s not always the answer — at least not only the only answer.

    After 30+ years of dealing with the press, I frequently have found #2 to be the culprit. Reporters are lazy, not very bright and suffer from acute innumeracy to boot. Over and over I’m am amazed how often reporters simply get it wrong — in stories that I’m intimately familiar with.
    In this particular incident, I see the media’s “fake news” to be mostly #2. But the MSM wants sensationalism — that increases views/readership and ups advertising revenue. So while it’s not overtly intentional, the media is prone to selectively present stories to increase reader interest and concern. Hence this is an example of #3. But in this case, the misrepresentation is more to increase revenue than the usual liberal bias.

    1. “Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

      In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”
      – Michael Crichton (1942-2008)

  16. CNN, among many, seems to employ reporters and managers who are either semi-literate (can’t understand the content of various reports), innumerate, or deliberately in the business of mis-stating that which they know to be true. Perhaps my “or” should have been an “and”.

  17. “Updated at 5:00 p.m.: CNN changed the headline and posted a clarification.”

    AFTER someone pointed out that they were publishing lies.

  18. CNN twists and distorts everything on their shitstain of a loser cable network. AT&T should fucking fire the lot of them.

  19. All media “sex up” headlines for click-bait purposes. This is the network that screams “Breaking News” for any random shit they feel like. If I had to rank CNN’s sins, this one would be way behind their sin of eliminating any semblance of objectivity and becoming a propaganda outlet for the Democratic Party.

    1. The worst thing about that decision is that it’s not even a good buisiness choice. The DNC propaganda audience gets split among NYT, ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR/PBS and WaPo before CNN gets to wet their beak.

      The reason that FNC has the biggest audience isn’t that they’re doing better journaism, it’s that they’re serving a less crowded sector of the overall market. They can have an audience that’s 25% as big as the other side and still win the ratings since they’re getting all of their crowd instead of settling for a small slice.

    2. “All media “sex up” headlines for click-bait purposes…”

      So “lying” is now ‘sexing up’?
      Thanks for identifying yourself.

  20. The bigger surprise is their poll that claims 55% of people surveyed trust CNN.

    Did they use their employee phone directory for the dialing sample?

    1. I have a friend who works for CNN.
      He would not be in that 55%

      1. Should we add “News” to the category including “laws” and “sausage” for things which people who like them should never watch them get made?

  21. There were times when I watch CNN all the time, like this kind of crisis.
    Nowadays, I deleted CNN from my youtube channel list.
    I voted for Hilary and never voted for republicans.

  22. Like CNN sometimes need to be stopped at a point where they tell lies!. Including laws maybe a good point to make them pay for what they did.
    How could even CNN get any reputation when all their information just make matter worse!

  23. CNN reported a poll which has Biden (assuming he’s lucid) leading Trump!

  24. COVID-19 is affecting many lives, If this report is true then it is time to worry, also read amazing facts in hindi

  25. I sometimes wonder why Reason opinion writers seemingly never point out the massive spin that the Washington Post puts on almost every article, be it about politics or not.

    I assume that they either just consider it to be too easy a target, or they figure the Post just isn’t important any more, except as the DNC newsletter.

  26. USA Today article: Supreme Court confronts ‘faithless electors’ as 2020 presidential election looms

    Perhaps an honest mistake, or perhaps more cynically an intentional lie, but the article says:

    “Under the Constitution, each state appoints electors to cast the electoral ballots apportioned by the popular vote.”

    This is simply not true at any level.

    First, there is no “popular vote”.

    Second, under the Constitution, each state appoints electors per

    “Clause 2. Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress; but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

    Note that there’s not a word about “popular vote”. There’s not a word about holding any elections within a state. A state’s Electors are determined by whatever “Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct”. If a state decides that the Governor should appoint Electors directly, they can do that. If a state decides they will allow their Congressional Representatives and Senators to each appoint an elector, they can do that. If a state decides to have an election and appoint all their Electors to the statewide winner, they can do that. If a state decides to hold elections and appoint Electors, one per district based on per-district results, they can do that. If a state decided to appoint electors by a random lottery, they could do that, too.

    Why would USA Today say that?

  27. I was talking to the Mrs this morning after we watched the news and this poll came up (forget what channel).

    I said something along the lines of:

    I wonder how many of those people demanding longer lockdowns would feel if things were *really* locked down. Being able to run to the grocery store or Wal-Mart or picking up your favorite take-out…those are all ways and places where you can infect other or be infected.

    So I mean *really locked down*: no grocery stores, no Wal-Mart, no fast-food drive throughs, no pizza delivery, no Uber-Eats or Door-Dash or whatever. No Amazon or Target online. No home delivery. No jogging, visiting a park, etc. You’ll stay in your house or else–we’ll allow you to wander around in your own backyard (backyard only), if you have one. For food, what you’ll get is a government truck will deliver a box of food for one person to eat for a week, and drop off the boxes at your front doorstep based on the number of people in your household (hope you didn’t lie on the census form!). An armed escort will accompany the delivery person to ensure that no one opens their doors while the delivery person is within 20 feet of the door.

    The ONLY “essential” personnel will be those involved with treating COVID and for delivering the food. These people will be issued uniforms and ID lanyards. So there’s no reason for anyone one else to ever venture outside of their house and anyone on the streets who is not in uniform obviously has no business being there, and will be subject to immediate detention in physical quarantine facilities.

    Let them imagine a real lockdown for a few minutes then ask the question about a vaccine again. Bet the answer is different.

  28. To be fair, if CNN didn’t broadcast fake news it’s screens would be dark for 23 hours and 30 minutes every day

  29. Very typical CNN lying for political reasons.

  30. CNN and the Washington post are neck and neck in biased reporting.

  31. If you hate President Trump, then CNN and MSNBC are your friends. That is the only reason to watch these networks..

  32. The guy in the picture looks less like a cop and more like he’s going to someone’s bachelorette party.

  33. CNN is not even trying to fake they’re fake news anymore.

    USA Today article: Supreme Court confronts ‘faithless electors’ as 2020 presidential election looms

    Perhaps an honest mistake, or perhaps more cynically an intentional lie, but the article says:

    “Under the Constitution, each state appoints electors to cast the electoral ballots apportioned by the popular vote.”

    This is simply not true at any level.

    First, there is no “popular vote”.

  35. Leave the spin and obfuscation to Reason, CNN!!

  36. News flash. There will likely never be a vaccine… CNN do your due diligence.

  37. I was already distrustful of the media because of their strong “leftist liberal” bias. And my distrust increased when I took an interest in the trial of David Westerfield for kidnapping and killing Danielle van Dam. There were two crime scenes, and the police could find no evidence that he was ever at either of those scenes (or that he even knew of the existence of the small hidden illegal dump site where her body was found). In fact, there was evidence that he wasn’t at those scenes. And no one could figure out how he could have committed the kidnapping: not the police, not the prosecution, not the jury. But that didn’t matter to any of them.

    With all that evidence of innocence, you’d think the media would have challenged the prosecution. But they didn’t. Instead, they just blindly published whatever the police and prosecution told them, never questioning any of it. And the public just blindly believed everything they were told.

  38. Good, more room for the 32% of us who aren’t afraid of their own shadow.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.