The CDC is considering new research that suggests keeping three feet of social distance might now be as effective as keeping six feet apart from people outside someone’s household or pod – at least in certain circumstances.

When asked what they would do should the CDC reduce its recommended social distance to three feet, 53% of U.S. adults said they would still maintain six feet of distance.

Simplifying and rebasing the data to exclude those who don’t typically adhere to social distancing measures (11% of survey respondents), we see an even clearer picture of U.S. sentiment: a majority of Americans would continue following the original CDC guidelines for social distancing.

Like most opinions about the nation’s response to the pandemic, perspectives on this issue trace the shape of political beliefs. However, a sizable percentage of conservatives (46%) agree with liberals, three-fourths of whom say they would keep six feet of distance if guidelines changed. 

A near-quarter of Americans of the Millennial generation said they wouldn’t maintain any distance from people outside their household should the CDC change its guidelines from six feet to three feet. People between 35 and 54 track more in line with the Gen Pop on the issue while those 55 and older over-index in likelihood to stick to the original guidelines.

Ongoing CivicScience research shows a connection between how someone feels about the spread of COVID-19 and changes in their habits and decision making. The greater the concern about the virus and its effects, the more likely a person is to stay six feet apart from someone outside their social bubble. 

If social distancing measures do in fact change, CivicScience will pulse Americans for more than a hypothetical.