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 1,017 registered voters conducted March 26-31, 2020 and a combined dataset of all Navigator Daily tracking of 2,722 registered voters conducted March 20-30, 2020.

Key Takeaways

  • The coronavirus pandemic is increasingly hitting home, as more Americans say they know someone who has been infected.
  • Americans have now been split on Trump’s response to coronavirus for a week, but they broadly disapprove of the president’s handling of health care.
  • Diving into our broader data set, we find Republican women showing greater alarm about the virus than Republican men.

One in Six Americans Knows Someone Infected.

The share of Americans personally connected to someone who has gotten infected with coronavirus has increased by eight points since our first update just last week.

  • Across New York, Washington, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Washington, D.C. – the places hit hardest early in the outbreak – 29% know someone who has caught the virus.
  • 55% of Americans now say that they know someone who has lost their job due to the pandemic, up 14 points from March 23rd (41%).

Americans across party lines are increasingly worried about being able to visit a sick family member.

  • Americans under age 45 are more concerned about this (69% worried) than those 65 and up (55% worried).

Americans Increasingly Say Trump Response Erratic, Chaotic, and Not Competent.

Progressives seeking to hold the Trump administration accountable can speak to growing perceptions that the president’s response has been chaotic, erratic, incompetent, and dishonest.

  • About half of independents say Trump’s response has been “erratic” (50%) and “chaotic” (48%).

Americans Broadly Disapprove of Trump on Health Care.

Trump’s approval on handling the issue of health care is underwater by double digits.

  • The negative ratings come as 59% of Americans say they are worried more about the impact of coronavirus on people’s health than they are about the national economy (41%).
  • Trump also gets negative ratings among independents with no partisan lean (39% approve/46% disapprove).

Public Remains Split on Trump’s Coronavirus Response.

About as many have disapproved as approved of Trump’s response for the past week of tracking.

Gender Gap Within GOP Concern Over Virus.

Democratic men and women, independent women, and Republican women are the most concerned about someone close to them getting infected with coronavirus.

  • Independent men (68%) and Republican men (66%) are the least worried.

Republican women are no less likely to participate in social distancing compared to others, but Republican men lag when it comes to certain social distancing practices, such as avoiding in-person meetings with friends or family.

  • Republican men are less likely than Republican women to spend almost all their time at home (70% GOP men, 83% GOP women), and avoid restaurants or bars (70% GOP men, 81% GOP women).
  • Republican women are 16 points more likely to say the pandemic makes them feel “afraid” (44% of GOP women, 28% of GOP men, 47% of Americans, overall).

Most of Coronavirus Bump Comes from Democrats.

The 7% of Americans who have disapproved of Donald Trump’s performance overall – but approved of his handling of coronavirus – may be a difficult audience for the president to keep support from long term.

  • This group overwhelmingly voted for Clinton, identify as Democrats, and are disproportionately younger and people of color.