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Covid Worries Rise Slightly

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

6 in 10 fault their fellow Americans’ behavior during outbreak

West Long Branch, NJ – President Donald Trump continues to receive poor marks for his response to the coronavirus outbreak, but the public has also turned its ire on the behavior of their fellow Americans according to the Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll. As the pandemic picks up steam and many states hit pause on reopening their economies, public concern about getting the virus has increased while confidence in the country’s ability to contain the spread has decreased. Partisan identity is more influential than proximity to Covid hotspots in determining opinions of the pandemic response.

The president’s overall job approval rating continues to be underwater. Trump now earns a 41% approve and 53% disapprove rating from the American public. His job rating was 42%–54% in early June, down from 46%–48% in March. Trump earns an 82% approve to 14% disapprove rating from his fellow Republicans, 36%–55% from independents and 9%–87% from Democrats. Currently, 18% of the public says the country is headed in the right direction while 74% says it is on the wrong track. This result is slightly less positive than last month’s 21%–74% rating, which was then the all-time low since Monmouth started asking this question in 2013.

The public remains cautious about reopening the country in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly two-thirds (64%) are more concerned that states are starting to lift restrictions too quickly compared with 27% who are more concerned this is happening too slowly. In early June, public concern stood at 60% too quickly and 32% too slowly.

“Many states loosened restrictions a few weeks ago. Both the epidemiological data and the public opinion data suggest it may have been too soon,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Differences in levels of concern about state openings appear to be based more on partisanship than on the actual spread of the virus locally. Concern that states are reopening too quickly is shared by more than 6 in 10 residents regardless of the rate of local spread based on state level Covid-19 death doubling rates compiled by the Princeton Election Consortium. This includes places where the virus is spreading the fastest (63% in states with a death doubling rate of less than 180 days), relatively moderately (64% in states with 180-400 day doubling rates), and most slowly (66% in states where the death rate takes more than 400 days to double). Within each group of states, about 9 in 10 Democrats are concerned about their state lifting restrictions too quickly (90% fast spread, 89% moderate, 88% slow) and more than 6 in 10 independents share that feeling (64% fast spread, 65% moderate, 64% slow). Fewer Republicans feel this way, with slight variations based on the rate at which Covid deaths are doubling in their states (42% fast spread, 25% moderate, 38% slow).

“Partisanship seems to be the driving force in both opinions and behaviors related to the pandemic. Even when local conditions objectively change, the partisan filter dominates how people interpret this crisis,” said Murray.

The poll also reveals that the public has turned sour on the behavior of their neighbors during the pandemic. Just 28% say the American public has done a good job dealing with the outbreak while 59% say their fellow Americans have done a bad job. This sentiment was more positive in early June (46% good job to 43% bad job) and May (51% to 33%). Current feelings about the American public’s behavior in response to the pandemic are worse now than they were at the outset of the crisis (38% good job to 48% bad job in April and 38% to 45% in March).

“Some governors have dialed back their state’s reopening plans because of images of large groups showing a blatant disregard for social distancing. These poll results suggest that most people look at their fellow Americans’ behavior and say ‘This is why we can’t have nice things,’” said Murray.

Public confidence about getting the pandemic under control has also declined. In March, a solid 62% felt at least somewhat confident that the country would be able to limit the outbreak’s impact in a few weeks. That confidence level dropped to 53% in April and 43% in early June. It has dipped again, now standing at 37%. Specifically, just 13% of Americans are very confident and 24% are somewhat confident about limiting the impact over the next few weeks. Six in ten are not too (29%) or not at all (32%) confident. Republicans (60%) are more likely than independents (36%) and Democrats (16%) to be at least somewhat confident about reining in the outbreak.

Trump earns a 40% good job and 54% bad job rating for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak. State governors, on the other hand, continue to get broadly positive ratings – 65% good job and 28% bad job. Trump’s rating for handling the crisis started eroding almost immediately after the pandemic hit while the governor ratings did not see any decline until last month. The number of Americans who said Trump was doing a good job on the pandemic went from 50% in March to 46% in April and 42% in both May and early June. The number who gave their state governor a positive rating was either 72% or 73% from March through May before dipping to 67% in early June.

The Monmouth University Poll also finds that Americans continue to be more satisfied with the outbreak measures taken by their state than they are with Washington’s response. Just 34% say the measures taken by the federal government to slow the spread of the virus have been appropriate while 54% say they have not gone far enough. Another 9% say they have gone too far. At the beginning of June, 37% said federal measures were appropriate, 48% said they had not gone far enough, and 12% said they went too far. This opinion has fluctuated since the outbreak began. Back in March, 47% said the federal government was acting appropriately, 45% not far enough, and 6% too far.

Half of the American public says the outbreak measures taken by their state government have been appropriate, but this marks a decline since the pandemic’s onset – from 62% in March to 56% in early June to 50% in the current poll. Another 31% say their state has not gone far enough, which is up from 23% a few weeks ago, and 16% say they have gone too far, which is down from 20% in early June.

Looking at the personal impact of Covid, 41% of Americans are very worried about someone in their family becoming seriously ill from the virus. This level of concern represents a small increase after showing a few months of decline, having gone from 50% in April to 42% in May and 37% in early June. Another 26% in the current poll are somewhat concerned about a family member getting sick with Covid, 17% are not too concerned, and 15% are not at all concerned. White Americans (34%) are less likely than those in racial minority groups (55%) to say they are very concerned about this.

Just over one-third (36%) of Americans report that someone in their household was laid off from work due to the outbreak. This number is up from prior polls (29% in early June, 31% in May, and 30% in April). Less than half of this group say the laid-off person is either already back on the job (33%) or expect to be at work within the next few weeks (12%). Another 16% expect to be working by the end of the summer, 16% by the end of the year, and 10% sometime later. Another 13% say they will not return to work or are not sure when they will, which is up slightly from 9% who said the same four weeks ago.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from June 26 to 30, 2020 with 867 adults in the United States.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as president?

  TREND:Late June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
Feb.
2020
Jan.
2020
Approve41%42%43%44%46%44%43%
Disapprove53%54%51%49%48%50%52%
(VOL) No opinion7%4%6%6%6%5%5%
 (n)(867)(807)(808)(857)(851)(902)(903)
  TREND:
Continued
Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Aug.
2019
June
2019
May
2019
April 2019March 2019Jan.
2019
Nov.
2018
Aug.
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
Jan.
2018
Approve43%43%41%40%41%40%40%44%41%43%43%43%41%39%42%
Disapprove50%51%53%53%50%52%54%51%54%49%50%46%50%54%50%
(VOL) No opinion8%6%6%7%9%8%6%5%5%8%7%11%9%8%8%
 (n)(903)(908)(1,161)(800)(751)(802)(801)(802)(805)(802)(805)(806)(803)(803)(806)
  TREND:
Continued
Dec.
2017
Sept.
2017
Aug.
2017
July
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Approve32%40%41%39%39%43%
Disapprove56%49%49%52%53%46%
(VOL) No opinion12%11%10%9%8%11%
 (n)(806)(1,009)(805)(800)(1,002)(801)

2. Would you say things in the country are going in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track?

  TREND:Late June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
Feb.
2020
Jan.
2020
Right direction18%21%33%30%39%37%37%
Wrong track74%74%60%61%54%57%56%
(VOL) Depends5%4%4%5%4%6%6%
(VOL) Don’t know3%1%3%5%3%1%1%
(n)(867)(807)(808)(857)(851)(902)(903)
  TREND:
Continued
Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Aug.
2019
June
2019
May
2019
April
2019
March
2019
Nov.
2018
Aug.
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
Jan.
2018
Right direction32%30%30%28%31%29%28%29%35%35%40%33%31%37%
Wrong track56%61%61%62%62%63%62%63%55%57%53%58%61%57%
(VOL) Depends8%7%6%8%6%4%7%6%7%6%3%5%6%3%
(VOL) Don’t know4%2%2%2%2%3%3%2%3%3%3%4%1%3%
(n)(903)(908)(1,161)(800)(751)(802)(801)(802)(802)(805)(806)(803)(803)(806)
  TREND:
Continued
Dec.
2017
Aug.
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Jan.
2017
Aug.
2016*
Oct.
2015
July
2015
June
2015
April
2015
Dec.
2014
July
2013
Right direction24%32%31%35%29%30%24%28%23%27%23%28%
Wrong track66%58%61%56%65%65%66%63%68%66%69%63%
(VOL) Depends7%4%5%4%4%2%6%5%5%5%5%5%
(VOL) Don’t know3%5%3%5%2%3%4%3%3%2%3%4%
(n)(806)(805)(1,002)(801)(801)(803)(1,012)(1,001)(1,002)(1,005)(1,008)(1,012)

      * Registered voters

3. Thinking about your current financial situation, would you say you are struggling to remain where you are financially, basically stable in your current financial situation, or is your financial situation improving?

 TREND:
Late June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
April
2019
April
2018
Jan.
2017
Struggling22%20%23%26%26%20%24%29%
Stable61%65%63%62%61%54%51%51%
Improving17%13%13%11%11%25%23%20%
(VOL) Don’t know1%1%1%2%1%1%2%0%
(n)(867)(807)(808)(857)(851)(801)(803)(801)

4. How concerned are you about someone in your family becoming seriously ill from the coronavirus outbreak – very concerned, somewhat concerned, not too concerned, or not at all concerned?

     TREND:Late June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
  Very concerned41%37%42%50%38%
  Somewhat concerned26%32%28%33%32%
  Not too concerned17%14%14%9%18%
  Not at all concerned15%16%16%7%12%
  (VOL) Don’t know0%0%0%0%0%
  (VOL) Has already happened1%0%0%0%n/a
(n)(867)(807)(808)(857)(851)

5. How confident are you that the country will be able to limit the impact of the outbreak over the next few weeks – very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at all confident?

     TREND:Late June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
  Very confident13%15%16%15%25%
  Somewhat confident24%28%34%38%37%
  Not too confident29%26%25%24%21%
  Not at all confident32%30%25%21%15%
  (VOL) Don’t know2%2%1%2%2%
(n)(867)(807)(808)(857)(851)

[QUESTIONS 6 & 7 WERE ROTATED]

6. Have the measures taken by the federal government to slow the spread of the virus been appropriate, have they gone too far, or have they not gone far enough?

     TREND:Late June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
  Appropriate34%37%42%35%47%
  Gone too far9%12%10%7%6%
  Not gone far enough54%48%45%54%45%
  (VOL) Don’t know3%3%2%3%2%
(n)(867)(807)(808)(857)(851)

7. Have the measures taken by your state government to slow the spread of the virus been appropriate, have they gone too far, or have they not gone far enough?

     TREND:Late June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
  Appropriate50%56%59%60%62%
  Gone too far16%20%17%8%9%
  Not gone far enough31%23%22%30%25%
  (VOL) Don’t know3%1%2%2%4%
(n)(867)(807)(808)(857)(851)

8. Please tell me if each of the following has done a good job or bad job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. [ITEMS WERE ROTATED]

       TREND:Good
Job
Bad
Job
(VOL) Mixed,
depends
(VOL) Don’t
know

(n)
President Trump40%54%4%3%(867)
   — Early June 202042%56%2%0%(807)
   — May 202042%51%4%2%(808)
   — April 202046%49%3%1%(857)
   — March 202050%45%3%1%(851)
      
Your state’s governor65%28%5%2%(867)
   — Early June 202067%28%3%1%(807)
   — May 202073%22%3%2%(808)
   — April 202072%21%4%3%(857)
   — March 202072%18%4%6%(851)
      
The American public28%59%11%3%(867)
   — Early June 202046%43%8%2%(807)
   — May 202051%33%13%2%(808)
   — April 202038%48%12%2%(857)
   — March 202038%45%14%3%(851)
      

9. Are you more concerned that states are starting to lift restrictions too quickly or that states are not lifting restrictions quickly enough?

    TREND:Late June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020*
Too quickly64%60%63%
Not quickly enough27%32%29%
(VOL) Not concerned either way4%5%5%
(VOL) Don’t know4%3%2%
(n)(867)(807)(808)

*Question wording in May was “Are you more concerned that states will start lifting restrictions too quickly or that states will not lift restrictions quickly enough?”

10. Have you or someone in your household been laid off from work because of the outbreak? [If YES:Is this you or someone else?]

     TREND:Late June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
  Yes, self12%7%9%9%
  Yes, other person19%18%17%18%
  Yes, self and other5%4%5%3%
  No, no one64%71%68%69%
  (VOL) Don’t know0%0%0%0%
(n)(867)(807)(808)(857)

[Question 10A was asked of those with someone laid off in the household; n= 294 m.o.e.= +/- 5.7%]

10A. Will [you/this person] be able to return to the same job or have to get a new job?

     TREND:
Late June
2020
Early June
2020
Be able to return to the same job52%64%
Have to get a new job30%27%
(VOL) Other5%0%
(VOL) Don’t know13%10%
(n)(294)(220)

[Question 10B was asked of those with someone laid off in the household; n= 294 m.o.e.= +/- 5.7%]

10B. When do you expect that [you/this person] will be back at work? Are [you/they] already back, will be back within the next few weeks, before the end of the summer, before the end of the year, sometime later, or never?

     TREND:
Late June
2020
Early June
2020
Already back *33%16%
Within the next few weeks12%25%
Before the end of the summer16%22%
Before the end of the year16%18%
Sometime later10%10%
Never4%2%
(VOL) Don’t know9%7%
(n)(294)(220)

* “Already back” was a volunteered response in the early June poll.

[Q11-35 held for future release.]

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from June 26 to 30, 2020 with a national random sample of 867 adults age 18 and older. This includes 294 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 573 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English. Telephone numbers were selected through random digit dialing and landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2018 one-year survey). Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and Dynata (RDD sample). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
Self-Reported
28% Republican
41% Independent
31% Democrat
 
48% Male
52% Female
 
30% 18-34
33% 35-54
37% 55+
 
63% White
12% Black
16% Hispanic
  8% Asian/Other
 
69% No degree
31% 4 year degree
  

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs