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 1,010 registered voters; May 8-May 13, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • Trump’s rating on handling the pandemic has reached a new low point.
  • Voters continue to be most concerned by Trump’s actions that have put lives at risk: downplaying the threat, ignoring experts, and his push for an unsafe reopening.
  • Americans are especially concerned by Trump blocking CDC guidelines on how to safely reopen the country.

Trump Approval on Pandemic Hits New Low

Trump’s approval rating on his handling of the pandemic has reached its lowest point in our daily tracking.

  • 45% of Americans now say they “strongly disapprove” of Trump’s handling, the highest yet.
  • Among independents, Trump is at -34 on his handling of the pandemic (28% approve/62% disapprove).

Majority Call Trump’s Response a Failure

A majority of Americans say that Trump’s response to the pandemic has been a failure.

  • A third say Trump’s response has been a “big failure,” while just 8% say it has been a “big success.”
  • Even among Republicans, while 74% call it a success, only 16% say that it has been a “big success.”

Top Concerns: Downplaying, Ignoring Experts, Risking Lives

When presented with a series of criticisms about Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, respondents rate early downplaying, ignoring experts, and blaming others as actions that raise the most serious concerns.

  • “Very” serious concern about early downplaying grew 8 points from March 23 (42% to 50%).

Public Concerned Trump Failing to Reopen Safely

A plurality of Americans are more concerned Trump’s failures on public health have slowed our ability to reopen the economy safely and that by ignoring concerns about a second wave, this crisis will go on longer.

  • Among those “mixed on Trump,” 43% are more concerned that he is ignoring concerns of a “second wave” in order to reopen the economy.

Trump Not Taking Responsibility More Concerning Than Distractions

Americans are more concerned that Trump too often blames others and fails to take responsibility during the crisis than being too distracted by petty political fights.

  • More than half (52%) of Americans who are mixed on Trump, and 56% of independents, are more concerned that Trump too often blames others.

Wide Variety of Trump Acts Raise Big Concerns

Top concerns include comments about injecting disinfectants, ignoring intelligence briefings, and blocking CDC guidelines on reopening, while Trump getting daily testing during a shortage ranks lowest.