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 1,006 registered voters conducted April 15-April 20, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • Ratings of how Trump is handling the pandemic continue to drop, while his economic approval is now below 50%.
  • Early in the crisis, Trump was seen as“serious” in his response to it, but that notion has completely faded away.
  • Despite recent protests, the vast majority of the public remains more concerned about their personal health than their finances and continues to support and participate in social distancing.

Trump’s Rating on Handling Pandemic Hits New Low

Continuing last week’s trend, Trump’s approval rating on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic continues to drop and is now underwater by 8 points.

  • Half of Americans (50%) believe that Donald Trump and his administration are “not doing enough” to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, an increase of 9 points since March 23.

Public Losing Confidence in Trump’s Approach

Throughout our daily tracking, there has been a substantial decline in the share of Americans saying that “serious,” “presidential,” and “competent” apply to Donald Trump’s response to coronavirus. 

  • ”Serious” has dropped a net 18 points, ”presidential” 11 points, and “competent” 11 points.

Growing Disapproval of Trump’s Handling of Economy

Trump’s approval rating on handling the economy has hit the lowest point in our daily tracking, down a net of 10 points from March 23.

  • A plurality of independents disapprove of the way Trump is handling the economy (37% approve/43% disapprove), a net decrease of 19 points since March 23rd (51% approve/38% disapprove).

Personal Health Remains Main Worry

Seven in 10 Americans continue to say they are more worried about their family’s health and well-being than their financial situation.

  • Majorities of independents (58%) and Republicans (66%) say they are more concerned about “you and your family’s health and well-being.”

Far More Concerned Social Distancing Will End “Too Soon”

Americans continue to be more worried that we will end social distancing too soon, risking lives and a continuation of the crisis, than they are about potential economic costs of continuing social distancing too long.

  • The share of Americans saying they are more concerned about social distancing ending too soon continues to increase despite an increase in belief that the “the worst is over” (27%, up from 10% on April 3rd).

No Sign of Social Distancing Fatigue

Despite recent media coverage of protests over stay-at-home orders, Americans have not changed their behavior over the past few weeks – the vast majority continue to avoid public gatherings and spend almost all of their time inside.