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 1,009 registered voters conducted May 7-May 12, 2020, and a combined dataset of 1,683 registered voters conducted May 4-May 11, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • Over the past two months, Trump’s approval rating on handling the coronavirus pandemic has declined the most among independents and older Americans.
  • For the first time, a plurality of Americans say the U.S. economy is already in a recession.
  • Coronavirus continues to impact communities in significant ways, and nearly 1 in 6 urban residents now know someone who has died from it.

Trump’s Approval Ratings Remain Underwater

Trump’s approval ratings on four metrics related to the coronavirus pandemic continue to drop.

  • Among independents, Trump’s at -16 on his overall job approval (37% approve/53% disapprove), -33 on health care (24% approve/57% disapprove), -32 on handling the pandemic (28% approve/60% disapprove), and -1 on the economy (42% approve/43% disapprove).

Biggest Approval Declines Among Independents, Older Americans, and People of Color

Since our first week of tracking, Trump’s approval rating on handling the coronavirus pandemic has dropped the most among independents, older Americans, and people of color.

Negative Conversation Surrounding Trump Has Shifted From Disinfectants to Reopening Economy

Over the past two weeks, Americans have heard more negative things about Trump on reopening the economy and not doing enough than his prior remarks on injecting disinfectants, which stood out widely at the end of April.

Plurality Now Say U.S. Economy In a Recession

For the first time in our daily tracking, the plurality of Americans say the U.S. economy is already in a recession, while another 40% say we aren’t in a recession yet, but are headed towards one.

  • In addition to a majority of Democrats (53%), both a third of independents (33%) and Republicans (33%) now say we are in a recession.

Impacts of the Pandemic are Widespread

The majority of Americans say they know someone who has had their hours cut or lost a job, while a third of Americans know someone who has been infected and more than one in ten know someone who has died.

  • While those in rural areas are most likely to know someone who has had their hours cut or lost a job, those in urban and suburban areas are most likely to know someone who has been infected or who has died.

Americans Most Concerned Trump is Unprepared

Most Americans say that Trump’s response has been “self-absorbed,” ”irresponsible,” “erratic,” and “chaotic,” but a majority say the most concerning aspect is that he’s “unprepared.”

  • Among those mixed on Trump*, 66% say ”unprepared” applies to him, while 70% say it’s most concerning.

Requiring Masks is Good for Business

Half of Americans are more likely to stop at a store requiring all customers wear masks, and an overwhelming majority believe stores requiring masks are acting responsibly, not infringing on freedoms.

  • Even three quarters (78%) of Republicans agree stores that requiring customers to wear masks are acting responsibility to protect public health.