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 edition of our daily tracking release features findings from a national online survey of 1,020 registered voters conducted May 6-11, 2020, a national online survey of 1,687 registered voters conducted April 27-May 4, 2020, and a national online survey of 1,683 registered voters conducted May 4-May 11, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • Governors retain higher approval ratings than Trump on handling the pandemic, but Democratic governors and those who have not started partially reopening are most popular.
  • A second wave of the pandemic continues to be a top worry for Americans.
  • A majority continue to be concerned that social distancing will end too soon.

Highest Approval Ratings for Governors Maintaining Social Distancing Measures

However, a deeper look finds that the increase in disapproval is being driven by more negative ratings of Republican governors and those who have the most relaxed social distancing guidelines.

  • Republican governors of states that have partially reopened have the lowest approval ratings on handling the pandemic (53% approve/40% disapprove).

Majority Disapprove of Trump’s Response

For more than a month now, Trump’s approval rating on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic has been underwater.

  • The share of Americans who “strongly disapprove” continues to rise, with more than two in five Americans saying they “strongly disapprove” (42%).

State & Local Government Remain More Trusted than Trump

The majority of Americans trust their state and local government to handle the coronavirus pandemic more than they trust Trump and the federal government.

  • Even among Republicans with Democratic governors, 25% trust their state and local government more to handle the coronavirus pandemic.

Belief “Worst is Yet to Come” Ticking Back Up

More than half of Americans still believe the worst is yet to come in the coronavirus pandemic, and this number has increased 13 points in the last week.

  • 57% of independents say the worst is yet to come, up 23 points since May 5 (from 34%).
  • This comes as 83% of Americans say they are “very” or “somewhat” worried that the country will experience a “second wave” of the outbreak once the country starts to reopen.

A “Second Wave” Remains Biggest Concern

Worries about a “second wave” of the pandemic following reopening continue to grow while other worries about the pandemic stay steady.

Personal and Public Health Remain Bigger Concern

Americans remain more concerned about their family’s health than their financial situation and the impact of coronavirus on public health than the economy as a whole.

  • Over the past week, we’ve seen a 5-point increase in the share who are more concerned about the impact of the pandemic on people’s health rather than the economy as a whole.

Majority Still Concerned Social Distancing Will End Too Soon

Despite the reopening of some states, the majority of Americans remain more concerned that social distancing will end too soon rather than go on too long.

  • Nearly four in 10 Republicans (39%) and more than two-thirds of independents (65%) are more concerned that social distancing will end too soon, prolonging the pandemic.