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 1,014 registered voters conducted April 29-May 4, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • The majority of Americans remain concerned that social distancing will end too soon rather than go on too long.
  • Two thirds of those who had symptoms that made them want to get a coronavirus test were unable to get one.
  • The public continues to believe that Trump and his administration did not do enough when coronavirus first began spreading and that they still are not doing enough now.

High Intensity of Disapproval for Trump’s Handling

Two in five Americans now strongly disapprove of the job Trump is doing in handling the coronavirus pandemic, nearly double the share of those who strongly approve.

  • In our March 23 update, 41% “strongly” disapproved of Trump’s overall job performance, while 31% “strongly” disapproved of his handling of the pandemic. Now, those numbers are the same: 41% and 40%, respectively.

Governors Who Took Early Action Sustain Approval Boost

As approval ratings of governors have held steady over the past month, governors who acted early continue to see higher approval ratings than governors who waited to take action.

  • Despite the higher approval ratings Democratic governors (72% approve) and those who took early action (75%) enjoy over Republican (68%) and late-moving governors (66%), governors across the board still have significantly higher approval ratings than the president who is underwater at 46% approve, 52% disapprove.

Majority Concerned Social Distancing Will End Too Soon

Nearly two thirds of Americans continue to say they are more concerned that social distancing will end too soon and prolong the pandemic than that it will go on too long and hurt the economy.

  • Republicans are divided on this: 45% are more concerned that social distancing will end too soon and prolong the pandemic, while 47% are more concerned that social distancing will go on too long and unnecessarily damage the economy.

Two Thirds of Those Who Wanted to Get Tested Unable to

Despite the White House’s recent claims that tests are available to any American who wants one, our aggregated data from this week shows that two thirds of Americans who wanted to get tested were unable to.

  • Among the 16% of Americans in urban areas that wanted to get tested, half (8%) were able to. On the other hand, only 2% of Americans in suburban and rural areas were able to get tested.

Americans Continue to Believe Trump Not Doing Enough

Majorities believe Trump did not take it seriously at first and that he is not doing enough now.

  • More than half of independents (56%) believe that Trump is currently not doing enough, and nearly two in three (63%) say that he did not take it seriously enough at the beginning. A quarter of Republicans (25%) also say that he did not take it seriously enough.

Growing Share Say Trump Response is “Erratic”

When asked whether a list of words apply or don’t apply to Trump’s coronavirus response, all negative descriptions rise above positive descriptions, with “self-absorbed,” ”unprepared,” and “erratic” continuing to top the list.

  • The share saying “erratic” applies to Trump’s response has grown 9 points since March 23 (from 48% then to 57% today).