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 1,031 registered voters conducted April 22-April 27, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • The decline in Trump’s approval rating on the pandemic is particularly pronounced among independents, people of color and older Americans.
  • Ratings of the economy have reached a new low in our daily tracking, including among Republicans.
  • Protests against stay-at-home orders have done little to sway overall public opinion on social distancing.

Trump’s Approval on Pandemic Remains Underwater

Trump’s handling of the pandemic has been underwater for over two weeks, now at -9 (44% approve/53% approve).

  • Among independents, Trump’s rating is even worse at -14 (39% approve/53% disapprove).

Biggest Approval Decline Among Independents

Since our first week of tracking, Trump’s approval rating on handling the coronavirus pandemic has dropped the most among people of color, independents, and older Americans.

Negative Impressions of Economy at Record High

Four-in-five Americans now rate the economy as “not so good” or “poor,” a new high in our daily tracking.

  • A majority of Republicans (70%) now rate the economy negatively, an increase of 29 points since March 23rd.
  • Americans are divided on how Trump is handling the economy (49% approve/48% disapprove), a net decrease of 9 points since March 23rd (53% approve/43% disapprove).

Northeasterners Most Likely to Say Their State in Crisis

Northeasterners are the most likely to say that the pandemic in their state is a “major crisis,” while just half of Southerners and less than half of Midwesterners and Westerners say the same.

  • Despite the regional differentiation, roughly three quarters of Americans in each region describe the pandemic as a “major crisis” for the country.

More Say “Return To Normal” Will Take Longer

Fewer Americans now say that a “return to normal” is within a month or few months’ reach, with more saying that it will take until the end of the year or beyond for things to go back to normal in the United States. 

  • Nearly half of Republicans (45%) now say that a return to normalcy won’t happen until at least the end of the year.

Few Americans Support Undoing Social Distancing

Despite coverage of protests against stay-at-home orders, the public continues to believe that we are currently doing the right thing or need more aggressive social distancing policies.

  • Nearly all of the increase in relaxing distancing comes from Republicans, but even still, only one-in-four (23%) Republicans supports doing that.