Public Opinion on Coronavirus: Navigator Update

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 release features findings from a national online survey of 1,013 registered voters conducted June 18-22, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • Public debate on Trump has shifted back toward coronavirus: a majority feel he is not doing enough on the pandemic and that he is pushing too aggressively to reopen.
  • A majority say Trump bears responsibility for the new surge in cases and disapprove of his decision to restart campaign rallies amidst the pandemic.
  • Americans continue to oppose the Trump administration’s lawsuit to repeal the ACA and think he should leave the DACA program alone following the recent Supreme Court ruling.

Trump’s Disapproval Remains at High-Point During Pandemic

Approval of Trump’s handling of his job as president remains at its lowest point in our tracking this week.

  • Since March 23, among 2016 Trump voters, his approval has decreased by a net of 8 points, from +81 (90% approve/9% disapprove) to +73 (86% approve/13% disapprove).

Public Debate on Trump Refocusing on Coronavirus, Holding Rallies

While some still mention the president’s St. John’s Church photo op, the president’s handling of coronavirus and his Tulsa rally in particular havebeen the focus of negative conversations about Trump over the past week.

Majority Feel Trump Not Doing Enough on Pandemic

By the largest margin yet, Americans say the Trump administration is “not doing enough” in their response to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Throughout our tracking, Trump has typically gotten worse ratings for his early response than his current response – by margins of 10-15 points. But in recent data, these numbers have converged and now are just 5 points apart (59% say he did not take early response seriously enough vs. 54% not currently doing enough).

People Say Trump is Risking Lives by Reopening

Fewer Americans agree with Trump’s argument that “we can’t keep the economy shut down forever” than was the case two weeks ago. A majority say he is ignoring medical experts and reopening too aggressively.

  • On June 8, the margin between those who said Trump is putting lives at risk by reopening too aggressively, and those who say Trump is right to say we can’t keep the economy shut down forever, was +5 – now, it’s +13.

Public Holds Trump Responsible for Increasing Cases

Nearly three in five Americans say they hold Trump responsible for cases going up.

Americans Disapprove of “Superspreader” Trump Rallies

Roughly three in five disapprove of Trump’s decision to restart campaign rallies and feel that the Tulsa rally will likely become a “superspreader event.”

“Unprepared,” “Irresponsible” Most Concerning About Trump Pandemic Response

Among those who said either a negative term described or a positive term did not describe Trump’s handling of his job as president in a previous question, the words they say best describe what concerns them most about his response to the pandemic include “unprepared” and “irresponsible.”

Top Trump Concerns: Ignoring Experts, Dividing Us, Making Things Worse

Most concerning among independents is Trump pitting Americans against each other and failing to unite the nation, followed closely by adding to the present chaos with inflammatory words and ignoring experts.

Only a Third Support Trump Lawsuit to Repeal Health Care Law

Half of the public says the government should drop its lawsuit to ensure the ACA is left in place, including nearly half of independents.

  • Among independents, 30% say they are not sure what should happen with the lawsuit.

Nearly Two-Thirds Think Trump Should Leave DACA Alone

More than three in five say that following the Supreme Court’s ruling against Trump on a case involving the DACA program, he should leave DACA alone and not try to deport Dreamers.

  • The share who say Trump should once again try to terminate DACA is being driven in part by “very conservative” Republicans, with 62% saying he should continue to push for the deportation of nearly 700,000 Dreamers.