Public Opinion on Coronavirus: Navigator Daily

Wednesday, April 29, 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 23-April 28, 2020 and a combined dataset of 9,433 registered voters conducted March 20-April 27, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • As Trump’s approval ratings remain underwater, governors maintain high ratings.
  • The public continues to hear more negative things about Trump’s response than positive and his recent comments about injecting disinfectant got significant attention.
  • Congressional Democrats are now more trusted than Trump to handle the pandemic.

The Trump Slump Continues

Trump’s ratings on handling his job as president and the coronavirus pandemic remain negative, while his net approval on the issue of health care hit a new low in our daily tracking.

  • Among independents, Trump’s approval ratings averaged at -25 on overall job approval (32% approve/57% disapprove), at -28 on health care (30% approve/58% disapprove), at -15 on handling coronavirus (36% approve/51% disapprove), and at -7 on the economy (41% approve/48% disapprove) over the past week.

Most Governors Retain High Approval Ratings

With 5,400 interviews asking respondents to rate the job their governor is doing handling the pandemic, we looked at some states individually. The vast majority approve of the job their governor is doing handling the crisis.

  • Most governors have sky-high, 65%+ approval ratings, with two exceptions – Ron DeSantis (51%) and Brian Kemp (51%).

Public Continues to Hear More Negative About Trump Response

Nearly half of Americans now report that they are exposed to mostly negative things about Trump’s response to coronavirus, while less than one in five report hearing mostly positive.

  • Among Republicans, less than two in five (39%) are hearing mostly positive things about his response.
  • Even among Republicans who watch Fox News, less than half (43%) report hearing mostly positive things, while only a third (32%) of Republicans who do not watch Fox News say they hear mostly positive things.

Trump’s Disinfectant Comments Spread Widely

Among those that have heard ”mostly negative” things about Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic recently, commentary from recent press briefings, specifically his idea of injecting or drinking disinfectants, are widely mentioned.

Fauci Overwhelmingly More Trusted than Trump

A vast majority of Americans across the partisan spectrum continue to trust Dr. Anthony Fauci, while trust in Trump remains negative when it comes to his ability to tell the truth about the pandemic.

  • Since April 8th, trust in Fauci has increased 5 points, while trust in Trump has decreased 8 points.
  • Among independents, 62% trust Fauci to tell the truth, while only 28% trust the president to do the same.

Democrats More Trusted to Handle Pandemic

While Trump began with an initial advantage over Democrats in Congress on responding to the coronavirus outbreak, Democrats have now gained a lead over Trump.

  • On March 23rd, Trump held a 6-point advantage over Democrats in Congress on responding to the coronavirus outbreak. Now, Democrats hold a 7-point advantage over Trump.

Majority Says Trump Self-Absorbed, Unprepared, Erratic

When asked whether a series of words apply or don’t apply to Trump’s coronavirus response, every negative description rises above positive descriptions, with “self-absorbed” and “unprepared” topping the list.

  • Following Trump’s disinfectant comments, the share of Americans describing Trump as “irresponsible” peaked at 56% on April 24th, an increase of 9 points since our first update on March 23rd.

Those Who Know Someone Sick More Concerned by Downplaying

A majority of Americans say that Trump’s downplaying of the coronavirus threat early on raises serious concerns for them. That rises to two-thirds among Americans who know someone who has been infected.

  • Those who know someone who has been infected are 9 points more likely to say that Trump’s early downplaying raises serious concerns than those who do not know someone who has been infected.