• Trump receives comparatively low approval for his handling of the virus versus governors
  • But governors who opened their states up early receive lower marks
  • This trend is bipartisan, with many governors of both parties receiving high marks

While governors nationwide enjoy a much higher approval rating over their handling of the coronavirus than President Trump, a new Washington Post-Ipsos poll reveals that governors who were cautious in reopening their state for business fared better than the others. A significant majority of Americans, 71%, approve of their governors' handling of the virus, versus a 43% approval for Trump.

Two Republican governors in states won by Trump in 2016 featured on the top and bottom of the list, highlighting an emerging split in how Americans assess their local leaders’ handling of the virus.

Gov. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, receives the highest mark in this new poll, with 86% of Ohioans approving of his handling of the outbreak. DeWine was one of the first governors to move swiftly to shut down the state to try to contain the virus, and he has resisted calls to reopen. Conversely, Gov. Brian Kemp, R-GA, receives the lowest mark in the poll, with just 39% of Georgians approving of his handling of the crisis. He was one of the first governors to reopen the state in defiance of advice from most medical experts.

While the anti-lockdown protests have received much attention in the media, there is virtually no evidence that support for them is widespread. Americans are largely unified on enacting aggressive measures to counteract the spread of the virus, as proven in a collection of polling assembled by the website and The Huffington Post’s Polling Editor, Ariel-Edwards Levy.

Governor Gavin Newsom imposed stay-at-home orders on all 40 million Californians on March 19

An ABC/Ipsos poll indicates that 86% of Americans say “stay-at-home orders are responsible government policies that are saving lives” rather than “an overreaction.” An NPR/Marist poll finds that 85% oppose reopening schools and 91% oppose resuming big sporting events. An Axios/Ipsos poll discovered that 85% trust local officials and health care workers while 93% are trying to maintain six-foot distances in public. A Politico/Morning Consult poll reveals that 81% of Americans say people should continue to social distance for as long as needed to stop the coronavirus even if it means continued damage to the economy.

To really drive home the point that Americans are largely unified on wanting to restrict typical life in order to combat the virus, HuffPo and included some more anodyne poll results on items that theoretically should have higher consensus amongst Americans. Just 81% enjoy apple pie, 76% feel positively about kittens and 89% say elections are important to democracy. Seasoned poll-watchers know that it is difficult to get Americans to broadly agree on anything, yet measures that make the economy take a backseat in order to protect the health and wellness of Americans are more popular than apple pie and kittens.

While there is plenty of bipartisan consensus on the steps needed to fight the virus, like everything in American politics, there are partisan splits. Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., receive positive marks from about eight in 10 adults, but a deeper look into the numbers finds Cuomo boosted by a 93% approval from Democrats versus 58% of Republicans, with Newsom garnering the support of 89% of Democrats versus 58% of Republicans.

However, these results, especially contrasted against governors like Kemp who opened their state early and receive low ratings from their constituents, prove that a majority of Americans prefer moving forward with caution, and governors who have done so are being rewarded with higher approval ratings, regardless of which party they belong to.