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 April 7-April 10, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • One in five Americans knows someone who has been infected with coronavirus.
  • Americans continue to learn more negative than positive things about Trump’s handling of the pandemic.
  • The vast majority of the public still feels the worst is yet to come and continues to support social distancing.

One in Five Americans Know Someone Infected

21% of Americans know someone who has been infected with coronavirus, up 11 points in two weeks.

  • While only 13% of Americans in states with the lowest infection rates know someone who has been infected, nearly a third of respondents (31%) in states with the highest infection rates know someone.

Americans Remain Split on Trump’s Performance

The public continues to be evenly divided on how Trump is handling the coronavirus pandemic.

  • 37% of Americans say they “strongly disapprove” of his handling while only 28% say they ”strongly approve.”
  • 11% of Americans say they approve of Trump because it feels important to be supportive of the president during a crisis.


Public Still Hearing More Bad Than Good on Trump Response

Americans continue to hear more negative things about Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Republicans who watch Fox News are driving the few who see mostly positive things – 52% of Fox News Republicans report hearing mostly positive compared to 33% of Republicans who don’t watch FOX News, 21% of independents, and 11% of Democrats.

Pessimism Down, But Majority Believe Worst to Come

Most Americans continue to believe “the worst is yet to come,” but our most recent findings suggest this could be trending down for the first time since our tracking began.

  • The vast majority of Democrats (79%), 69% of independents, and 56% of Republicans still believe that “the worst is yet to come.”

Personal Impact Affects Views on Social Distancing

Despite a recent drop in support for more aggressive social distancing, the vast majority of Americans still support current social distancing measures or want more aggressive social distancing.

  • After peaking at 57% on April 3rd, the share of Americans saying they want more aggressive social distancing has dropped 10 points as of today’s update. However, support is especially high among those who have been impacted most directly, regardless of political party.
  • Separately, more remain concerned social distancing will end too soon (56%) than go on too long (26%).

Americans Still More Worried About Their Health Than Finances, But Economic Concerns Trending Up

Despite some downward movement, nearly three quarters of Americans still are more worried about their family’s health and well-being than their financial situation.

  • From a national perspective, the majority of Americans (56%) also say they are more worried about the impact of the virus on people’s health than the impact of the pandemic on the economy as a whole (44%).