Public Opinion on Coronavirus: Navigator Update

Thursday, August 27, 2020

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 1,002 registered voters conducted August 21 – 24, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • An increasing majority say Trump wants what is best for himself over what is best for the country.
  • The public sees Trump as having fallen short on promises of restoring law and order, making America respected, making America great again, and putting America first.
  • African Americans strongly disagree with Trump’s claim they are doing better under Trump than they have under any president since Abraham Lincoln.

Trump Approval Ratings Tick Downward

After a slight rebound two weeks ago, Trump’s approval ratings on a range of metrics have shifted back more deeply underwater this week.

  • Among independents, approval of his handling of his job as president has dropped a net 13 points since August 10, from net –19 to –32.

Growing Share Say Trump Wants What is Best for Himself

Three in five say Trump wants what is best for himself rather than what is best for the country – since February 2020, the share has grown a net 10 points.

  • Republicans are driving the shift toward those who say Trump wants what is best for himself, increasing a net 16 points since September 2018 (from -66 to -50).

Majorities Feel Trump Has Been Worse Than Expected and His Policies Put the Wealthy First

More than half say Trump has been worse than expected when he got elected, and nearly two in three say Trump puts wealthy people first.

  • Among 2016 Trump voters*, 24% say that he puts wealthy people ahead of working and middle class people.

Growing Belief Range of Negatives Describe Trump Presidency

A majority continue to say negative words, like “self-absorbed” and “chaotic” describe the Trump presidency, while three in five say that “honest” and “compassionate” do not describe Trump.

  • A majority of independents (73%) say “self-absorbed” applies to Trump’s handling of his job as president.

While Public Remains “Pro-Mask,” Trump is Still Seen as “Anti-Mask”

More than four in five say they are pro-mask, and nearly two in three identify the president as “anti-mask.”

Trump Still “Not Doing Enough”

A third say that Donald Trump and his administration are “getting it about right,” while 58% say he is “not doing enough” and just 4% say he is overreacting.

  • On August 3, 50% of Americans ages 65+ said Trump was “not doing enough”: now, 58% say the same.

Trump Falls Short on Law and Order, Making America Great Again and Respected, Putting America First

On promises like restoring law and order, making America respected, making America great again, and putting America first, Trump has seen a net double-digit decline in staying true to his word since last year.

Majorities Disagree That Under Trump, Pandemic is Under Control, Current Economic Recovery Fastest in History

More than half of Americans disagree with a wide range of positive statements made about the Trump presidency, with Republicans who watch Fox News most likely to agree with the statements.

Black Americans Strongly Disagree They Are Doing Better Under Trump Than Any President Since Lincoln

While a majority of Americans overall disagree with Trump’s claim that African Americans are doing better under Trump than they have under nearly any other president, more than four in five African Americans disagree with this claim.

  • Republicans are driving the share of Americans who believe this claim, with 85% who agree. Among Fox News Republicans, 91% agree with this statement.