Public Opinion on Coronavirus: Navigator Daily

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 1,005 registered voters conducted March 23-26, 2020.

Key Takeaways

  • In thinking about their greatest worry about coronavirus, Americans are increasingly prioritizing health concerns over economic concerns.
  • Strain on our hospital system and doctors is an increasing source of concern about Trump’s response to the crisis.
  • Americans remain divided on Trump’s handling of coronavirus in our tracking, confirming a dip we saw in yesterday’s polling compared to our earlier tracking.

Americans’ Concern on Health Care Keeps Rising.

Concerns about national health are increasingly trumping concerns about the state of the economy.

  • Seniors are more concerned than younger Americans about their family’s health (84% 65+, 60% 18-44), and more 18-44 year-olds rank the impact of the pandemic on the economy (52%) above health (48%) in concern.

Americans are most concerned that someone close to them will catch the virus, more than they are about catching it themselves.

  • The public also expresses significant worry about potential capacity issues on hospitals and donors critical to our health care infrastructure (69% worried).

Democrats are more worried about someone close to them getting sick than independents and Republicans. This corresponds with greater worries in urban areas, which may be related to virus hot spots in cities.

  • Younger Americans are no less worried about someone they know being infected than older Americans; in fact, they’re more intensely worried. This is also true for concern over getting infected themselves.

Though Americans are very concerned about their health and the state of the economy in light of the pandemic, few Americans have direct ties to the crisis as of now.

  • This is in contrast to the high number of people (47%) who know someone who has lost a job because of the pandemic.

Strain on Hospitals and Doctors a Growing Concern.

Trump’s failures to address health care issues underlying the crisis are highly concerning for Americans.

  • Nearly half of independents say that each of the below raises serious concerns, ranging between 43% and 51%.
  • Americans are more concerned by Trump’s failure to bolster health care system capacity since the start of this week.

Americans Remain Split on Trump’s Response.

For the second day in a row, Americans are evenly divided on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, extending a dip that emerged in yesterday’s poll, after he had been above water in earlier tracking.

  • Evaluations appear to be converging with Trump’s overall approval rating (47% approve/52% disapprove), with Democrats in particular souring on the president’s performance (-65 net approve, down from -48 on March 23rd).

Americans give Trump a bit less credit for responding to the pandemic than they do on the economy, but view it more favorably than his handling of health care in general.

  • Independents still give Trump slightly higher marks on coronavirus (+4 net approve) than the economy (+2), though they generally disapprove of his handling of health care (-12).

Americans Continue to Hear More Negative on Trump.

Americans are increasingly hearing negative things about Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Over recent days, 40% of Americans have heard mostly negative things about his handling of the crisis, three in ten (31%) have heard an equal mix of positive and negative, while just 28% have heard mostly positive things.