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 and a national survey of 1,008 registered voters conducted April 27-April 30, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • Americans are mixed on Trump’s ability to handle an economic recovery, but most believe his response to date favors the wealthy.
  • Governors are seen as striking the right balance on handling the economic crisis and the pandemic, while Trump is not. Democrats in Congress have room to stake out their position.
  • There has been an increased demand for bold economic change over minimal government regulation and strong majorities support progressive economic policies.

Trump Approval Underwater, But Economic Rating Mixed

While Trump’s approval on the coronavirus pandemic and his job as president remain negative, he sees slightly better ratings on his handling of the economy and his ability to handle an economic recovery.

  • Confidence in Trump’s ability to handle an economic recovery following the pandemic falls along partisan lines: 21% of Democrats, 48% of independents, and 88% of Republicans say they are confident.

Dem Advantage on Health Care; More Mixed on Recovery

Though Democrats in Congress hold a sizable advantage over Trump on looking out for working people and issues related to coronavirus and health care broadly, their lead is narrower on issues relating to an economic recovery.

  • Independents (36%) are particularly likely to be undecided about who to trust more to handle an economic recovery.

Democrats’ Response Favors Working & Middle Class; Trump’s Favors Wealthy & Corporations

Democrats in Congress hold a significant advantage over Trump in belief that their pandemic response policies favor middle and working class people instead of the wealthy and big corporations.

  • Among independents, Democrats in Congress hold a net 45-point advantage over Trump.

Public Wants Safe Reopening, Not an Immediate One

The vast majority of Americans oppose reopening the country in the next few weeks and say that we need to focus on resolving the health crisis first.

  • In a separate question, 89% of the public, including 85% of independents, prefer a very or somewhat “cautious opening – opening a handful of businesses and services, but keeping things closed.”

Governors Striking Right Balance; Trump is Not

A majority of Americans see governors as getting the balance right between handling the economy and the spread of coronavirus, compared to just one in three who say the same about Trump.

  • More than one in five Americans are unsure about how Democrats in Congress are balancing the two, showing they are not seen as anti-economy, but are undefined.

Increased Demand for Bold Economic Changes to Help Working People

Since January, there has been a double digit increase in the share of Americans who agree that we need big economic changes so working people can get ahead.

  • Republicans are largely driving this shift, with a net increase of 16 points toward agreeing more that we need big economic changes rather than keeping taxes low and getting the government out of the way.
  • Among 2016 Trump voters, there has been a 17-point shift in the same direction.

In a Coronavirus World, Majority Support Progressive Economic Policies

The majority of Americans support progressive economy policies, ranging from job creation, to clean energy, to an increase in federal funding in education to make tuition free.

Majority Say Government Should Directly Fund Payroll Support

Nearly half of Americans support the government directly funding workers’ paychecks through their small businesses over the government providing funding to banks to give businesses loans.

  • Even among Republicans, direct funding of workers’ paychecks leads reliance on banks to loan money to businesses by 9 points (41% directly fund/32% fund banks).