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COVID-19 Coronavirus. Photo courtesy of Alachua County Board of Health.

Poll: Trump gets approval bump, but governors getting higher marks

Governors of four states, including New Jersey, have 74% approval rating for handling of COVID-19 outbreak

By David Wildstein, March 23 2020 2:00 pm

President Donald Trump has received a net positive rating for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic – and an overall bump in his job approvals – but the nation’s governors are getting higher marks, according to a national Monmouth University poll released today.

There’s good news in the poll for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy: in the four states with the most reported COVID-19 cases – New Jersey, New York, California and Washington — 74% of adults say their governor has done a good job responding to the crisis.

“The president gets more positive than negative marks for his handling of the COVID outbreak but his numbers are still driven by the nation’s typical partisan divide,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.  “Governors, on the other hand, seem to be emerging as the most trusted official voice in this crisis across the board.”

Trump’s job approvals went from 44%-50% last month to 46%-48% in March.  On his handling of coronavirus, 50 say Trump has done a good job and 45% view his work badly.

“Trump has cast himself as a wartime president, but the small increase in his current job rating falls far short of the ‘rally round the flag’ effect past presidents have experienced,” explained Murray, citing that George W. Bush’s job rating jumped nearly 30 points after 9/11 and John F. Kennedy’s approvals went up by about 10 points during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Without prompting, 57% of Americans view the coronavirus is their biggest concern facing their family.  No other issue, including the economy and national security, breaks out of the double-digit range.

Six in ten (62%) adults say the steps taken by their individual states to slow the spread of the virus have been appropriate while 25% say they have not gone far enough and 9% say their state has gone too far, according to the poll.

“The coronavirus outbreak has probably heightened the economic and health care anxieties we usually see at the top of this list,” Murray said.  “But the huge number of people who name COVID-19 as their top concern on this standard polling question illustrates just how all-consuming this pandemic has become in Americans’ daily lives.”

Americans are less satisfied with the actions of their federal government.

Just under half (47%) saying federal measures have been appropriate and a similar number (45%) saying they have not gone far enough  and 6% say the federal government has gone too far.

“Ambivalence toward the federal government’s response seems to be focused more on elected officials than on the civil servants who work in key agencies,” Murray said.

The public is spit on how Congress has dealt with the coronavirus outbreak, with 42% saying they have done a good job and 37% saying Congress had done a bad job.

Congress typically polls poorly as an institution, while individual senators and House members do considerably better when their own constituents are polled.

About two-thirds of Americans (66%) say they have not gone out to stores and businesses with their usual frequency, while 35% say they have lost income as a result of a decrease in work hours or less business.  Also: 20% say they have started to work from home for the first time, 22% are spending more time shopping online, and 57 say they’re spending more time watching TV and movies.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted March 18-22 with a national random sample of 851 adults and a margin of error of +/- 3.4%.

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