Public Opinion on Coronavirus: Navigator Daily

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

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 1,012 registered voters conducted April 16-April 21, 2020 and a combined dataset of 7,749 registered voters conducted March 20-April 20, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • There is widespread support for governors placing stay-at-home orders over those protesting the orders.
  • Trump’s overall approval and pandemic approval continue to decline.
  • An economic recession is a top worry for Americans and a majority believe that we are already in a recession or headed towards one.

Broad Support for Governors Over Protestors

In light of recent protests against stay-at-home orders, we added a new question asking the public which side they support. The vast majority, across parties, supports the governors who put in place the stay-at-home orders.

Trump’s Job Approval Drops to Pre-Crisis Level

Donald Trump’s job approval rating sinks to his average job approval rating prior to the crisis. 

  • His net job approval among African Americans is -64 (15% approve/79% disapprove), -35 among Hispanics (30%/65%), -17 among college educated whites (41%/58%), and +10 among whites without a college degree (54%/44%).

Trump’s Pandemic Handling Continues to Decline

Trump’s net approval on handling the pandemic has dropped to a new low of -10.

  • For the last six updates, fewer than 40% of independents have rated Trump positively.

Those Who Know Someone Sick Less Likely to Approve

Across the 7,000 interviews we’ve conducted this past month, those who know someone infected give Trump worse ratings on his job as president.

  • The gap is wider among independents. Independents who know someone infected give Trump a net rating of -39 (27% approve/66% disapprove) on his job overall. Independents who don’t know someone infected are less negative on Trump’s performance (42% approve/47% disapprove).

Nearly a Third of Americans Now Know Someone Infected

30% of Americans know someone who has been infected with coronavirus, more than triple the share who knew someone in our initial tracking released March 23rd.

  • Americans ages 18-44 (35%), Northeasterners (36%), and African Americans (36%) are more likely to know someone who has been infected.

Economic Recession Is Top Worry for Americans

The economy falling into a recession is a top worry for Americans, followed by someone close to them getting infected.

  • In a separate question, 37% say the economy is already in a recession, while 42% say the economy is headed into one. Only 10% say neither are true.

Majority Say Trump’s Economic Response Favors Wealthy

More Americans believe Trump’s economic response to the pandemic benefits the wealthy and big corporations over middle and working class people, a 10-point increase since March 23rd.

  • One in five 2016 Trump voters (21%) and 51% of Americans who are “mixed on Trump” think his policies favor the wealthy and big corporations.

Majority Want More Government Action to Improve Economy

A majority continue to say the federal government needs to do more to improve the economy.

  • Even among 2016 Trump voters, 36% say the federal government needs to do more to improve the economy, while only 11% say the the government is already doing too much.