Latest Daily update Updated Thursday April 09, 2020

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Public Opinion on Coronavirus: Navigator Daily

Trump’s approval rating on handling coronavirus trails ratings of America’s governors on the crisis; while many want Trump to focus on helping the middle and working classes, most feel his policies favor the wealthy and big corporations.

Key takeaway Trump’s approval ratings on handling the coronavirus pandemic pale in comparison to those of America’s governors; Americans want Trump to focus on helping middle-class and working people, yet most feel his policies favor the wealthy; The public is concerned by Trump’s early dismissal of the virus threat, despite a series of warning signs that got ignored.

Welcome to NAVIGATOR – a project designed to better understand the American public’s views on issues of the day and help advocates, elected officials, and other interested parties understand the language, imagery, and messaging needed to make and win key policy arguments. 

This is a dynamic time, and as a result, Navigator will transition to a daily tracking poll on the coronavirus crisis. For the foreseeable future, we will be tracking public opinion every weekday, releasing on a Tuesday-Saturday schedule. In addition, future editions will provide more messaging guidance to the progressive community. 

This edition of our daily tracking release features findings from a national online survey of 1,022 registered voters conducted April 3-April 8, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • Trump’s approval ratings on handling the coronavirus pandemic pale in comparison to those of America’s governors.
  • Americans want Trump to focus on helping middle-class and working people, yet most feel his policies favor the wealthy.
  • The public is concerned by Trump’s early dismissal of the virus threat, despite a series of warning signs that got ignored.

Not All Who Approve of Trump’s Response Actually Approve

While Trump’s coronavirus approval rating is at 50%, only 37% of Americans say it’s more because of his strong leadership, while 13% say it is more about supporting the president during a time of national crisis.

Governors Earn Higher Marks Than Trump

Compared to Trump, state governors receive much higher approval ratings for their handling of coronavirus.

  • Trump receives less crossover support: he is getting 21% approval from Democrats on coronavirus, but Republican governors are getting 58% approval among in-state Democrats, while Democratic governors are getting 63% approval among in-state Republicans.
  • Governors who took early action by implementing statewide stay-at-home orders by March 26 receive higher ratings, on average, than those who did not.

Americans Want Policies That Put People First

While the vast majority want the federal government focused on helping regular people make ends meet, Americans tend to think Trump’s response favors the wealthy and big corporations.

Focus on Individual Relief Has Support and Urgency

There is near-unanimous support for small business loans, more generous unemployment benefits to offset the economic damage caused by the pandemic, and direct cash payments.

  • 91% of 2016 Trump voters support small business loans, and 88% of 2016 Trump voters support direct cash payments to all Americans.

Concern About Early Inaction Sticks

Trump’s failure to take early action and his downplaying of the threat are concerning to the majority of Americans.

  • Trump’s standing on both measures has held firm over recent weeks.

“Within a couple of days…”

Trump’s early decision to downplay the crisis, previous decisions that left the United States unprepared, and his failure to deliver raise serious concerns for Americans.

  • 53% of Americans that are “mixed on Trump” have very serious concerns that Trump spent weeks downplaying the coronavirus crisis when he should have been preparing the response.

Downplaying the Crisis Even Worries Republicans

Many Republicans are concerned that Donald Trump downplayed coronavirus when he should have been preparing and that he ignored previous warnings about a pandemic.

Welcome to NAVIGATOR – a project designed to better understand the American public’s views on issues of the day and help advocates, elected officials, and other interested parties understand the language, imagery, and messaging needed to make and win key policy arguments. 

This is a dynamic time, and as a result, Navigator will transition to a daily tracking poll on the coronavirus crisis. For the foreseeable future, we will be tracking public opinion every weekday, releasing on a Tuesday-Saturday schedule. In addition, future editions will provide more messaging guidance to the progressive community. 

This edition of our daily tracking release features findings from a national online survey of 1,007 registered voters conducted April 2-April 7, 2020 and a combined data set of Navigator Daily tracking of 1,676 registered voters conducted March 30-April 6, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • Trump’s overall approval rating has dropped over the past two weeks while Democrats hold advantages over Trump on key issues relating to the pandemic.
  • The share who describe Trump’s coronavirus response as “unprepared” has grown, while the share who call him “honest” has fallen.
  • Americans are concerned about Trump ignoring and overruling the advice of medical experts.

Trump Overall Approval Rating Hits New Low in Daily Tracking

With the exception of the economy, where Trump’s rating has dropped six points since March 23rd, his ratings on the coronavirus pandemic, health care, and his overall job rating are even or underwater.

  • Among independents, Trump’s overall net job approval rating is -30 (29% approve/59% disapprove) and his net coronavirus approval rating is -11 (38% approve/49% disapprove).

Congressional Dems Favored on Health Care and Honesty

Over the past two weeks, the share of Americans who trust Democrats in Congress more than President Trump on several key issues related to the pandemic has grown.

  • While independents once favored Trump more on honesty and responding to the outbreak by double digit margins, in the latest update, they favor Democrats on honesty (+5) and are split evenly on the outbreak.

Trump Image Slips on Key Leadership Traits

There’s been a net drop of 15 points in the share of Americans who say “honest” applies to Donald Trump’s response to coronavirus since March 23rd.

  • Just half of white non-college voters (49%) say that “honest” applies.

“Unprepared” Remains a Key Critique

Americans continue to say Trump has been “unprepared” by a clear margin.

  • Even among Republicans, 59% reject the “unprepared” label.
  • ”Erratic” and ”irresponsible” are also increasingly used to describe Trump’s coronavirus response.

Trump Ignoring Medical Experts Raises Serious Concerns

A majority of Americans have serious concerns Donald Trump is ignoring and overruling the advice of health and medical experts.

Only Fox News Republicans Think Trump Got Response Right

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Americans say Donald Trump and his administration did not take coronavirus seriously enough when it first began spreading.

  • Republicans who don’t watch Fox News are 15 points less likely than Republicans who watch Fox News to say that Trump “got it about right” when coronavirus first began spreading.

Divergent Views Based on News Sources

While Trump’s net coronavirus approval rating among Americans who receive most of their news from cable news networks has been stable over the past two weeks, his net approval rating has dropped 7 points among Americans whose main source of news includes websites and social media.

Welcome to NAVIGATOR – a project designed to better understand the American public’s views on issues of the day and help advocates, elected officials, and other interested parties understand the language, imagery, and messaging needed to make and win key policy arguments. 

This is a dynamic time, and as a result, Navigator will transition to a daily tracking poll on the coronavirus crisis. For the foreseeable future, we will be tracking public opinion every weekday, releasing on a Tuesday-Saturday schedule. In addition, future editions will provide more messaging guidance to the progressive community. 

This edition of our daily tracking release features findings from a national online survey of 1,003 registered voters conducted April 1-April 6, 2020 and a combined data set of Navigator Daily tracking of 1,676 registered voters conducted March 30-April 6, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • Ratings of the economy are significantly underwater and a majority feel Trump’s response favors the wealthy.
  • Republicans are just as concerned about a possible recession as Democrats and independents.
  • Americans are worried about their personal finances and report making tough financial decisions as a result.

Trump Has Yet to Return to Coronavirus Approval High

Americans remain evenly divided on how Trump is handling the coronavirus pandemic.

  • This marks our third consecutive update where Trump is underwater (-16) with independents. This is a net change of 23 points from our March 23rd update, where independents were at +7.
  • 36% of Americans say they “strongly disapprove” of his handling while only 25% say they ”strongly approve.”

Majority Feel Trump’s Response Favors Wealthy

Belief that Trump’s policies favor the wealthy and big corporations over working class Americans has increased from a net of +5 on March 23rd to a net of +21 in today’s update.

  • African Americans (74%) are even more likely to say his economic policies favor the wealthy and big corporations, up 22 points from 52% two weeks ago.

Three in Four Americans Rate the Economy Negatively

75% of Americans now rate the economy as “not so good” or “poor,” including a majority of 2016 Trump voters (55%) and Republicans (58%).

A Recession is Top of Mind for Americans

While many of Americans’ biggest concerns amidst the pandemic are about their health, the economy entering a recession is also a top worry.

  • Republicans (84%) are the most worried about the economy falling into a recession, followed by Democrats (82%) and independents (75%).

Americans are Uneasy About Their Personal Finances

A majority of Americans (52%) say they feel uneasy about their personal financial situation over the next few months.

  • Women (57%) are more likely than men (46%) to say they are uneasy about their personal finances.
  • Most Hispanics (62%) and 58% of Americans who recently worked in the service sector (58%) feel the same.

A Third of American Households Experiencing Job Loss

A third of Americans (34%) say they have either personally lost their job or have had a family member lose their job due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The majority of Hispanics (57%) say they have either lost their job or have had a family member lose their job, while 32% of whites without a four-year college degree say the same.

The Uneven Impact of Coronavirus Job Loss

African Americans (64%) and Hispanics (83%) are more worried than white Americans (57%) about losing their job or having a family member lose their job.

  • Americans who most recently worked in the service industry are also particularly worried about personally losing a job or a family member losing their job (68%).

Tough Financial Decisions, on Both Sides of the Partisan Divide

A majority (52%) of Americans say they are putting off major purchases in response to the pandemic.

  • This is a 10-point increase since our March 23rd update, where 42% of Americans said they were putting off major purchases.
  • Nearly half of Republicans (47%) and independents (50%) say they are putting off making major purchases in response to the coronavirus pandemic.