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New poll shows when majority of Utahns think life will “return to normal”

Students at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in South Salt Lake wear masks as the get on a bus to go home after their first day of school on Aug. 24, 2020. (PHOTO: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A new poll finds that most Utahns still think it will be a handful of months before life gets fully “back to normal.” 

Differing opinions on the “normal” timeline 

The latest Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll asked Utahns when they think they’ll be able to put the coronavirus pandemic behind them.

A majority of respondents indicated that they think it will be sometime this year, although only 6% think it will be within the next month or two.

In fact, over a third of all respondents think normalcy is still one year or several years away. That percentage is up from a similar poll in April, which found only a quarter of respondents thought normalcy was that far away.

Reading into the results

Independent pollster Scott Rasmussen said that increase doesn’t come as a surprise to him.

“From the very beginning, response to this pandemic has been up and down. It’s a roller coaster. That’s true of every aspect of it,” he explained to the Deseret News. “People have been getting vaccinated, but they’re still going out and still seeing everybody doing social distancing and still seeing people wearing masks.”

Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics, senses “cautious optimism” among most Utahns.

“What we have seen throughout this pandemic is you cannot take anything for granted,” he explains. “There just have been no certainties throughout this pandemic. People are hopeful, and they’re hopeful and they’re watching closely. That is the key takeaway. As our elected officials and others start modeling normal behavior over the next couple of months, Utahns are ready without question to get back to normal. They are looking at what’s happened over the past 12 to 14 months, and they’re being cautious about it.”

This latest poll was conducted April 30-May 6 of 1,000 registered Utah voters by Rasmussen.