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President Donald Trump. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Poll: Trump’s pandemic response continues to get low marks

Most residents still concerned about second case surge

By Nikita Biryukov, September 09 2020 1:00 pm

Voters are still giving President Donald Trump low marks for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis, according to a Monmouth University Poll released Wednesday.

More than half of voters, 56%, said they believed Trump had done a poor job handling the pandemic, while only 37% said they believed he had done a good job. The president’s approval rating was also underwater, 41%-53%.

Fewer than half of registered voters, 44%, are at least somewhat confident Trump can guide the country’s recovery, while 56% have little or no confidence in the same.

“Changes in the president’s overall job rating and his handling of the pandemic have not moved appreciably. We seem to be at a point where the pandemic isn’t having any more of an impact on the 2020 election than we’ve been seeing since the summer,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The changes come as greater numbers of Americans say the virus has had a direct major impact on their life. That number climbed to 55% in Wednesday’s poll, up from 50% in early June. In May, when New Jersey’s lockdowns were still at their strictest, 56% said the virus directly impacted their lives. Another 29% said the virus had a minor impact on them in Wednesday’s poll.

Almost half of respondents, 47%, said they feared they were very concerned about a family member contracting the virus, with Democrats, 68%, far more likely to say so than their Republican, 30%, or independent, 43%, counterparts.

Non-white residents were more likely than white residents to say they were very concerned about the virus, 59%-41%.

Most residents, 57%, believe another surge of virus cases will come before the end of the year. That’s down from 69% in June. Republicans were far less likely to anticipate a renewed surge than Democrats, with only 34% saying they expected cases to see another dramatic increase. The vast majority of Democrats, 76%, and most independents, 57%, said they expected such a surge.

The partisan split showed itself again when respondents were asked whether the country was reopening too quickly. Many Democrats, 82%, and most independents, 60%, said restrictions were disappearing too hastily, while only 30% of Republicans said the same.

Most residents, 52%, were satisfied with school reopenings, and there was little variance by party affiliation, thought Democrats were far less likely to say the federal government had done enough to aid that process.

Just 13% of Democratic respondents said as much, compared to 37% of independents and 58% of Republicans.

“The federal-state divide is where we see partisanship raise its head. Governors and state officials tend to generate some cross-aisle support, but opinion of the federal government is filtered almost entirely through a partisan lens,” said Murray.

Despite that, governors are still getting high marks for their handling of the pandemic, with 61% of respondents saying their governor had done a good job and 35% saying they had done a bad one.

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