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 1,007 registered voters conducted May 28-June 1, 2020.

Key takeaways

  • Nearly half of Americans strongly disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president, and two-thirds say the country is on the wrong track.
  • African Americans are most likely to believe the worst is yet to come in the pandemic and have faced an especially high rate of infection.
  • A majority are more worried about social distancing ending too soon and feel that Trump is moving too quickly to reopen.

“Wrong Track” at New High

Two-thirds of Americans say that things are “off on the wrong track,” an increase of five points since last week.

  • African Americans (85%), younger Americans ages 18-34 (73%), and Americans that live in urban areas (69%) are particularly likely to say that things are off on the wrong track.
  • Among independents, the share has grown 7 points since last week (from 67% to 73%).

Majority Disapprove of How Trump Handling His Job

Trump’s overall job approval remains underwater, as a majority of Americans (55%) disapprove of how he’s handling his job.

  • Nearly half of the country (46%) says they “strongly disapprove” of how Trump is handling his job, the highest in our tracking.

On Coronavirus, Americans Hearing About Trump Not Wearing a Mask & Pushing to Quickly Reopen Country

Since last week, negative conversation around Trump’s handling has shifted away from him taking unproven drugs and has instead centered around his refusal to wear a mask and him pushing to quickly reopen the country.

Coronavirus Has Had Disproportionate Impact on African American Community

Nearly a quarter of African Americans know someone who has lost their life to coronavirus, while nearly two in five know someone who has been infected.

  • In a separate question, more African Americans are worried about their family’s health and well-being over their personal financial situation (78%) than the public overall (72%).

African Americans More Likely to Believe “Worst is Yet to Come” & Coronavirus is “Major Crisis”

Nearly two in three African Americans think the worst is yet to come, 14 points higher than the country overall.

  • African Americans are also 8 points more likely to consider the coronavirus pandemic a “major crisis.”

African Americans More Concerned About Health Impacts

African Americans are more worried than the public overall on a number of health-related issues, including a second wave of the outbreak, other people not following precautions, and either getting infected or someone close to them getting infected.

  • 60% of African Americans say they are “very worried” about a ”second wave” and others ignoring precautions.

Majority Want Caution on Reopening

A majority of Americans consider themselves to be on the more cautious side about reopening.

  • Republicans are driving the share that support the country reopening in the next few weeks (65% support) and who are on the side to push to reopen over being cautious about reopening (42% pushing to reopen).

Nearly Two Thirds More Concerned Social Distancing Will End Too Soon

More than six in 10 Americans say they are concerned that social distancing will end too soon and prolong the pandemic, an increase of five points since mid-May.

Plurality Believe Democrats Getting Reopening Right, Trump and Republicans Moving Too Quick

A plurality of Americans say Democrats are “getting the timing about right on reopening,” while nearly three in five say Trump is moving too quickly to reopen, and nearly half say the same about Republicans in Congress.

  • Among independents, 62% feel that Trump is moving too quickly to reopen and 40% feel the same about Republicans in Congress.

Top Concerns: Ignoring Experts & Cutting Health Care

Americans are most concerned by Trump ignoring the advice of medical experts pushing to cut health care.

  • Among those mixed on Trump*, top concerns include his downplaying the risk early on (45%), blaming others (43%), and ignoring experts (40%).