• 72% approve of their governor's handling of the COVID-19 crisis
  • Just 44% give Trump high marks on his response
  • This split indicates that the crisis a serious threat to Trump's reelection

A new poll from The Washington Post/University of Maryland Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement indicates trouble for President Donald Trump, as a majority of U.S. adults rate his response to the coronavirus as “not so good” or “poor.” When juxtaposed next to their state governor’s results, this polling becomes even starker, as just 26% of respondents negatively rate their state leader’s handling of the pandemic.

As much as 72% rated the governors' performance “excellent” or “good.” The respondents clearly look at the federal and state response to the crisis differently, as only 44% approved of Trump's response.

This poll buttresses the findings of last week's Pew poll that Americans are skittish about reopening the economy. Two-thirds of respondents are concerned that state governments will lift restrictions too quickly, and nearly three-quarters believe that the worst is yet to come.

The latest poll found that a majority of U.S. adults expect gatherings of ten or more people to be unsafe until at least the end of June (including a majority of Republicans), with nearly a third, 32%, believing that the moratorium on gatherings will last even longer into late 2020 or later.

Another eye-opening result from the latest poll lies in the financial hardship questions, as one in three Americans indicate they are concerned about their ability to pay bills next month, and when broken down by race, the results become even more alarming, as WaPo detailed: “Some 48 percent of Hispanics are concerned about affording food or other basic items, as are 39 percent of blacks and 23 percent of whites.”

Donald Trump campaigned for office on a platform of immigration skepticism and has made policies restricting immigration central to his presidency
Donald Trump campaigned for office on a platform of immigration skepticism and has made policies restricting immigration central to his presidency AFP / MANDEL NGAN

Last week, in the face of sparse protests outside Democratic governors' offices, in three separate tweets, Trump declared to his followers the need to “Liberate” Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia. This opinion finds little support in the polls linked to above, and a Politico/Morning Consult poll taken last week during the protests indicated that 72% of Republicans approve of the social distancing measures being undertaken to combat the virus. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s top official on infectious diseases, said that the protests would “backfire.”

During his time as president, Trump has demonstrated a remarkable ability to shift public opinion in his direction, especially amongst Republicans. However, all recent polling indicates that the public generally approves of their governor’s moves to close the economy, and skeptical at best of Trump’s ability to handle this rapidly unfolding crisis, with consistent majorities opposing any move to open up the economy before medical experts say it is safe to do so.