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 1,008 registered voters conducted March 30-April 2, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • Even as nearly all Americans are watching at least some of Trump’s press conferences every day, the public continues to have serious concerns about his handling of the pandemic.
  • Americans want Trump and his administration to take stronger action and are particularly concerned about the lack of help for medical professionals.
  • Direct experience with coronavirus – whether illness or job losses – crosses borders and party lines.

Americans Worry About Strength of Response

Half of Americans (50%) believe that Trump is not doing enough, while only 42% say he and his administration are getting their response to the pandemic about right.

  • Among independents, Trump faces a similar 6-point deficit (44% not doing enough/38% getting it right).

Intensity of Opposition to Trump’s Crisis Handling is Rising

Intensity of opposition to Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has increasingly fallen in line with strong disapproval of Trump’s overall job performance.

  • Historically, ”strong” disapproval of Trump’s job performance has been higher than strong approval. But on coronavirus, this hasn’t always been the case. It’s now moving that way, with 36% of Americans saying they strongly disapprove of the coronavirus response and 28% saying they strongly approve.

93% of America Watches Trump, But Approval Still Down

Despite nearly all of U.S. watching some of Trump’s press briefings, support for his handling has fallen from its peak.

  • Independents are the least likely to try to watch his press conferences daily (31%) or to have at least seen clips (87%) compared to Democrats (92% have at least seen clips) and Republicans (95%).
  • Among Republicans who regularly watch Fox News, 58% say they try to watch Trump’s press conferences daily.

Serious Concern Trump is Overloading Hospitals

A majority of Americans (55%) are concerned Trump has not done what is necessary to make sure our hospitals and medical professionals are adequately prepared for the pandemic.

  • While Americans in urban areas (67%) are the most concerned about this, a majority of suburban Americans (55%) and 44% of rural Americans are also concerned.

Personal Health Concerns are Top of Mind

The biggest growing concerns for Americans are personally getting sick, the health and well-being of those close to them, and the overcrowding of hospitals.

  • Three quarters of the public (77%) are more worried about their own and their family’s health and well-being than their financial situation (23%), an increase of 8 points since the previous update.

Coronavirus Experienced Across Boundaries

Americans across partisanship and population density know people who have coronavirus or who have lost their job due to the pandemic.

  • The majority of Americans, including Democrats (62%), independents (55%), and Republicans (57%), know someone who has lost their job, and nearly a fifth of each know someone who has gotten sick.

Americans Continue to Change Their Behavior

As coronavirus continues to impact their lives, Americans continues to change their behavior in order to protect themselves and those around them.

  • There’s been a 12-point increase in Americans avoiding in-person interactions with friends or family since our first update and an 8-point increase in Americans spending all their time at home.