Trust in Trump falls as approval of handling of coronavirus hits all-time low, says poll

64% distrust the president on the coronavirus pandemic, and 60% do not approve of how he is handling the crisis

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Friday 17 July 2020 19:07
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Trump claims coronavirus is going to 'just disappear' as US sees record number of new cases

As cases of coronavirus surge across the south and west of the US, Americans increasingly distrust president Donald Trump, and disapprove of his handling of the outbreak.

In the latest in a series of bad poll results for the president, a new ABC News/Washington Post survey shows that 60 per cent do not approve of his how he is managing the crisis, up 15 points since late March.

Only 38 per cent approve of his approach, down from a peak of 51 per cent four months ago.

Further to that, only 34 per cent of Americans trust the president either “a great deal” or “a good amount” when he speaks about coronavirus.

Corresponding to that, 64 per cent trust him “not so much” or “not at all”. Almost half of respondents do not trust Trump at all.

Partisanship plays a big role in both approval of the president’s handling of the situation, and trust in what he says about it. His approval rating for handling the pandemic is 79 per cent among Republicans, but 39 per cent among independents and just four per cent among Democrats.

He has lost 21 points in approval on the issue among Democrats since late March, while losing nine points among independents and Republicans.

States that rushed to reopen their economies believing that the worst of the pandemic was over are now the hardest hit by the surge in new cases and deaths.

Drawing on that, Trump’s approval rating has lost approximately 16 points since late March in the Midwest, South and West, according to the poll. It is almost unchanged in the Northeast, where it started lower.

The president is better-rated in rural areas, but with only 48 per cent approval — down 23 points since March.

His approval rating is down 16 points in the suburbs, to 39 per cent, and 9 points in urban areas, to 30 per cent.

With so many states nearing breaking point trying to cope with the virus, the public’s stance on what they believe the government’s priorities should be has shifted. 63 per cent say that the focus should be on controlling the spread of Covid-19, even if it hurts the economy.

That figure is up six points from late May. The corresponding figures for those that want to restart the economy even if it hurts efforts to control the spread, are 37 per cent in late May, down to 33 per cent now.

Somewhat encouragingly, 79 per cent of Americans say that they wear a mask all, or most of the time, when they’re around other people outside their home — 57 per cent say they do all the time, without exception.

In partisan terms, only 38 per cent of Republicans or those that lean Republican always wear a mask when near others, versus 70 per cent of Democrats or those that lean Democrat.

Mask wearing is also strongly linked to worry about catching the virus, the poll suggests, rather than any doubt that a mask is effective protection. People are more likely to wear one if they feel the situation warrants it.

The poll was carried out for ABC News and The Washington Post by Langer Research.

On Thursday the US set a record for the number of new cases in day — approximately 75,000.

There have been 3.53 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and the official death toll stands at 138,649.

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