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 1,004 registered voters conducted April 24-April 29, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • Following Trump’s remarks on disinfectants, impressions of Trump’s press conferences have worsened.
  • The public is concerned Trump is putting people’s health at risk by promoting dangerous advice and ignoring experts.
  • The public blames both Trump and China, but also sees Trump’s blame game as a deflection of his own failures.

Trump’s Approval on Pandemic Continues to Erode

Trump’s handling of the pandemic continues to be negative by double digits.

  • In the highly-impacted Northeast, Trump’s approval is even worse (38% approve/61% disapprove).

Impressions of Trump’s Press Conferences Worsen

Following Trump’s recent comments about ingesting disinfectants, impressions of his press conferences have become more negative.

  • Net positive impressions have decreased the most among independents (-35, down from -14 on April 22) and Republicans (+52, down from +62 on April 22).
  • On a separate question, a majority overall (59%) and of independents (63%) say that Trump should “stop doing daily press conferences personally and leave briefings to other officials.”

Concern About Endangering Public Tops Lack of Plan

Nearly half are most concerned Trump puts people’s health and lives at risk, more so than his failure to show leadership and lack of a concrete plan for testing.

  • Among those “mixed on Trump”*, more than half (56%) are more concerned about him putting people’s health at risk than lacking a plan to get us out of the crisis (20%).

Dangerous Medical Advice a Top Concern

Americans, including those with mixed views on Trump, are most concerned by Trump’s promotion of dangerous
medical advice and ignoring health experts.

  • In a separate question, 58% (and 64% of those “mixed on Trump”) say that Trump’s decisions that “have ignored and overruled the advice of health and medical experts” raise “very” or “somewhat” serious concerns.

Lack of Medical Support & Dangerous Advice Worry Public

While the public remains concerned by Trump’s early downplaying, there is now also concern about the treatment of frontline medical workers as a result of his decision-making and dangerous medical advice.

  • For “mixed on Trump,” top responses include Trump’s failure to adequately support medical professionals (53% very concerning) and dangerous medical advice (49%).

Public Blames Both China and Trump, But…

President Trump and China are most deserving of blame for making the coronavirus pandemic worse.

  • Large shares of Americans saying China deserves “a lot” or “some blame” is a result of cross-partisan sentiment, with 72% of Democrats, 76% of independents, and 88% of Republicans agreeing. On the other hand, Trump deserving blame is highly partisan, with 87% of Democrats, 56% of independents, and only 22% of Republicans saying he deserves “a lot” or “some.”

…Americans See Trump’s Blame Game As Deflection

A majority of Americans, including two-thirds of independents, believe that when Trump discusses who should be blamed for making coronavirus worse, he is deflecting blame and attention from his own missteps.

  • FSince we began our daily tracking, the majority of Americans say that Trump “too often blaming others and tweeting insults instead of taking responsibility” raises “very” or “somewhat” serious concerns and has consistently been a top concern.

Plurality of Americans Blame Trump And China

There are plenty who blame both the president AND the Chinese government, including a majority of Democrats and nearly half of independents and those “mixed on Trump.”

  • Moderates (51%) and Americans ages 18-44 (47%) are also especially likely to blame both Trump and China.