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Fed Govt Not Helping States Enough; Trump Rating, Public Confidence Down

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Fauci most trusted official on COVID-19 crisis

West Long Branch, NJ – Public confidence in the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak has dipped and most Americans say that Washington is not doing enough to help the states hit hard by this pandemic. The Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll finds that the nation’s governors continue to earn praise for their response to the pandemic, while approval of President Donald Trump’s actions has dropped.  The poll also finds that Dr. Anthony Fauci is the most widely trusted face in the government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, but pockets of the public remain skeptical of the extent of the emergency.

Americans have become less satisfied with actions taken by the federal government to slow the spread of the virus over the past few weeks. A majority (54%) say the federal measures have not gone far enough (up from 45% who said the same in late March). Another 35% say these measures have been appropriate (down from 47%) and 7% say they have gone too far (similar to 6% last month).

A majority of the public is at least somewhat confident that the country will be able to limit the outbreak’s impact over the next few weeks, but this confidence has dropped since last month. Currently, 15% are very confident (down from 25%) and 38% are somewhat confident (similar to 37% in March).  Another 24% are not too confident (up from 21%) and 21% are not at all confident (up from 15%).

By contrast, most Americans are satisfied with the actions taken by state government. Six in ten (60%) say the steps taken by their individual states have been appropriate, while just 30% say they have not gone far enough, and 8% say they have gone too far. These results are nearly identical to last month’s poll (62% appropriate, 25% not far enough, 9% too far).

A majority of the public (55%) say that the federal government is not doing enough to help states that have been hit hard by the outbreak. Just 37% say that Washington has done enough and 3% say it has done too much to help these states.

“Most Americans disagree with the Trump administration’s position that the federal government is a backup to the states. The public seems to view this as a national crisis that requires a national response on par with the aggressive approach taken by the states,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

State governors (72% good job to 21% bad job) and health agencies in the federal government (66% to 25%) continue to earn the highest praise for the way they have been dealing with the outbreak. Public opinion for these two groups is similar to last month’s Monmouth poll (72% to 18% for governors and 65% to 24% for federal health agencies). Public praise for the nation’s governors remains bipartisan with 74% of Democrats, 71% of Republicans, and 70% of independents saying their governor has done a good job dealing with the situation.

Americans have become more negative on the president’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, with 46% saying he has done a good job and 49% saying he has done a bad job. Just over two weeks ago, he received marginally positive reviews of 50% good job and 45% bad job. Those saying he has done a good job range from 87% of Republicans to 45% of independents and just 16% of Democrats.  Trump’s overall job rating has also ticked down, now standing at 44% approve and 49% disapprove. Last month he earned a 46% to 48% rating, but his current numbers look more like his 44% to 50% rating in February.  It is important to note that the differences in Trump’s job rating from February to March to April are all within the survey sample margin of error.

Negative opinion of how Congress has handled the outbreak has grown since last month. Currently, 41% say Congress has done a good job and 45% say it has done a bad job. Last month, these ratings were 42% good job and 37% bad job. Still, the overall job rating for Congress has improved since before the outbreak.  It now stands at 32% approve and 55% disapprove. It was 20% approve and 69% disapprove in February.

The poll finds that public opinion on the media reporting about the outbreak has improved somewhat since last month. It now stands at 48% good job and 42% bad job compared with 45% good job and 43% bad job in March. The worst reviews from poll respondents for dealing with the pandemic continue to be directed at their fellow citizens – 38% say the American public has done a good job dealing with the outbreak but 48% say it has done a bad job.  This compares with the 38% good job and 45% bad job rating the American public earned last month.

When asked whom they trust the most among the public officials who appear on TV talking about the COVID-19 outbreak, more than 1 in 3 (35%) Americans name Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The next most frequently cited officials are New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (23%) and Trump (20%). Other trusted officials are Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force (14%), U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams (11%), and Vice President Mike Pence (10%). Other individual state governors are named by 14% of the public as officials they trust the most to talk about the pandemic.

“Dr. Fauci was known to very few Americans at the beginning of this year. The fact that one-third now look to him as the most trusted voice in Washington speaks to the public’s desire for a reliable authority figure in this crisis,” said Murray.  He added, “New York’s governor has emerged as a national voice during this crisis. In fact, the nation’s governors as a whole tend to earn more trust than the White House when it comes to dealing with this crisis.”

When asked to choose between their state’s governor and the president, 43% of Americans say they trust the COVID-19 information provided by their governor more while just 15% say they trust Trump more. Another 29% say they trust both the president and their governor equally and 12% say they trust neither person. In states with Democratic governors, 50% trust their governor more, 19% trust Trump more, 21% trust both equally and 9% trust neither. In states with Republican governors, 34% trust their governor more, 9% trust Trump more, 40% trust both equally and 16% trust neither.

Among Republicans in states with Republican governors, 26% trust Trump more, 11% trust their governor more, and 61% trust both equally. Among Republicans in states with Democratic governors, 44% trust Trump more, 15% trust their governor more, and 36% trust both equally. Most Democrats trust their governor more than Trump regardless of their governor’s political party, although 25% of Democrats who live in states with Republican governors say they trust neither the president nor their governor when it comes to providing information on the coronavirus outbreak.

The poll finds pockets of disagreement on the extent of the health crisis. This includes 34% who say that estimates that 200,000 Americans might die from the virus are being overstated, 23% who say that only the elderly or those with underlying health problems are at risk of getting seriously ill, and 20% who say reports about hospitals lacking needed medical supplies have been exaggerated. Republicans are more likely to agree with each of these statements while Democrats are the least likely.

Currently, 30% of the public says the country is headed in the right direction while 61% says it is on the wrong track. This is more negative than late last month (39% to 54%) as well as in February before concern about the pandemic became widespread (37% to 57%).

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from April 3 to 7, 2020 with 857 adults in the United States.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.4 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:April
2020
March
2020
Feb.
2020
Jan.
2020
Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Aug.
2019
June
2019
May
2019
April
2019
March
2019
Jan.
2019
Approve44%46%44%43%43%43%41%40%41%40%40%44%41%
Disapprove49%48%50%52%50%51%53%53%50%52%54%51%54%
(VOL) No opinion6%6%5%5%8%6%6%7%9%8%6%5%5%
(n)(857)(851)(902)(903)(903)(908)(1,161)(800)(751)(802)(801)(802)(805)
  TREND: ContinuedNov.
2018
Aug.
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
Jan.
2018
Dec.
2017
Sept.
2017
Aug.
2017
July
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Approve43%43%43%41%39%42%32%40%41%39%39%43%
Disapprove49%50%46%50%54%50%56%49%49%52%53%46%
(VOL) No opinion8%7%11%9%8%8%12%11%10%9%8%11%
(n)(802)(805)(806)(803)(803)(806)(806)(1,009)(805)(800)(1,002)(801)

2. Do you approve or disapprove of the job the U.S. Congress is doing?

  TREND:April
2020
Feb.
2020
Jan.
2020
Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Aug.
2019
June
2019
May
2019
April
2019
March
2019
Jan.
2019
Approve32%20%24%22%23%21%17%19%20%24%23%18%
Disapprove55%69%62%65%64%68%71%69%71%62%68%72%
(VOL) No opinion13%11%14%13%13%11%13%12%9%14%9%10%
(n)(857)(902)(903)(903)(908)(1,161)(800)(751)(802)(801)(802)(805)
  TREND: ContinuedNov.
2018
Aug.
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
Jan.
2018
Dec.
2017
Sept.
2017
Aug.
2017
July
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Jan.
2017
Approve23%17%19%17%18%21%16%17%18%19%19%25%23%
Disapprove63%69%67%71%72%68%65%69%69%70%68%59%66%
(VOL) No opinion14%14%14%12%11%11%19%15%13%11%13%16%11%
(n)(802)(805)(806)(803)(803)(806)(806)(1,009)(805)(800)(1,002)(801)(801)
  TREND: ContinuedSept.
2016*
Aug.
2016*
June
2016*
March
2016
Jan.
2016
Dec.
2015
Oct.
2015
Sept.
2015
Aug.
2015
July
2015
June
2015
April
2015
Jan.
2015
Dec.
2014
July
2013
Approve15%14%17%22%17%16%17%19%18%18%19%21%18%17%14%
Disapprove77%78%76%68%73%73%71%71%72%69%71%67%70%73%76%
(VOL) No opinion8%9%7%10%10%10%12%11%11%12%10%12%11%11%10%
(n)(802)(803)(803)(1,008)(1,003)(1,006)(1,012)(1,009)(1,203)(1,001)(1,002)(1,005)(1,003)(1,008)(1,012)

* Registered voters

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

  TREND:April
2020
March
2020
Feb.
2020
Jan.
2020
Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Aug.
2019
June
2019
May
2019
April
2019
March
2019
Right direction30%39%37%37%32%30%30%28%31%29%28%29%
Wrong track61%54%57%56%56%61%61%62%62%63%62%63%
(VOL) Depends5%4%6%6%8%7%6%8%6%4%7%6%
(VOL) Don’t know5%3%1%1%4%2%2%2%2%3%3%2%
(n)(857)(851)(902)(903)(903)(908)(1,161)(800)(751)(802)(801)(802)
  TREND: ContinuedNov.
2018
Aug.
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
Jan.
2018
Dec.
2017
Aug.
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Jan.
2017
Right direction35%35%40%33%31%37%24%32%31%35%29%
Wrong track55%57%53%58%61%57%66%58%61%56%65%
(VOL) Depends7%6%3%5%6%3%7%4%5%4%4%
(VOL) Don’t know3%3%3%4%1%3%3%5%3%5%2%
(n)(802)(805)(806)(803)(803)(806)(806)(805)(1,002)(801)(801)
  TREND: ContinuedAug.
2016*
Oct.
2015
July
2015
June
2015
April
2015
Dec.
2014
July
2013
Right direction30%24%28%23%27%23%28%
Wrong track65%66%63%68%66%69%63%
(VOL) Depends2%6%5%5%5%5%5%
(VOL) Don’t know3%4%3%3%2%3%4%
(n)(803)(1,012)(1,001)(1,002)(1,005)(1,008)(1,012)

      * Registered voters

[Q4-6 held for future release.]

7. 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:April
2020
March
2020
  Very confident15%25%
  Somewhat confident38%37%
  Not too confident24%21%
  Not at all confident21%15%
  (VOL) Don’t know2%2%
(n)(857)(851)

[QUESTIONS 8 & 9 WERE ROTATED]

8. 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:April
2020
March
2020
  Appropriate35%47%
  Gone too far7%6%
  Not gone far enough54%45%
  (VOL) Don’t know3%2%
(n)(857)(851)

9. 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:April
2020
March
2020
  Appropriate60%62%
  Gone too far8%9%
  Not gone far enough30%25%
  (VOL) Don’t know2%4%
(n)(857)(851)

10. 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)
Health agencies in the federal  government66%25%4%4%(857)
   — March 202065%24%8%4%(851)
      
President Trump46%49%3%1%(857)
   — March 202050%45%3%1%(851)
      
Your state’s governor72%21%4%3%(857)
   — March 202072%18%4%6%(851)
      
The media reporting about the outbreak48%42%8%2%(857)
   — March 202045%43%10%3%(851)
      
The American public38%48%12%2%(857)
   — March 202038%45%14%3%(851)
      
Congress41%45%9%5%(857)
   — March 202042%37%10%10%(851)
      

[Note: Question 10X was only asked 4/4-4/7; n=675, m.o.e. = +/- 3.8%]

10X. Is the federal government doing the right amount, too much, or not enough to help states that have been hit hard by the outbreak?

     April
2020
  Right amount37%
  Too much3%
  Not enough55%
  (VOL) Don’t know5%
(n)(675)

11. A number of public officials and elected leaders have appeared on TV to talk about the coronavirus or COVID outbreak.  Which ones do you trust the most? [LIST WAS NOT READ]  [Note: Results add to more than 100% because multiple responses were accepted]

  April
2020
  President Donald Trump20%
  Vice President Mike Pence10%
  Dr. Anthony Fauci35%
  Dr. Deborah Birx14%
  Surgeon General Jerome Adams11%
  NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo23%
  CA Gov. Gavin Newsom3%
  NJ Gov. Phil Murphy1%
  Other governors10%
  Speaker Nancy Pelosi1%
  Other14%
  No one15%
  Don’t know14%
(n)(857)

12. Who do you trust more when it comes to providing information about the coronavirus outbreak – President Trump or your state’s governor, or do you trust both equally?

  April
2020
  President Trump15%
  State’s governor43%
  Both equally29%
  (VOL) Neither12%
  (VOL) Don’t know1%
(n)(857)

13. I am going to read some statements about the coronavirus outbreak. Please tell me whether you agree or disagree with each. [ITEMS WERE ROTATED]

    AgreeDisagree(VOL) Mixed,
depends
(VOL) Don’t
know
(n)
Reports about hospitals lacking needed medical supplies
have been exaggerated
20%75%2%3%(857)
      
Only the elderly or those with underlying health problems
are at risk of getting seriously ill from the coronavirus
23%74%2%1%(857)
      
Estimates that 200,000 Americans might die from
the virus are being overstated
34%59%3%4%(857)
      

[Q14-34 held for future release.]

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from April 3 to 7, 2020 with a national random sample of 857 adults age 18 and older. This includes 345 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 512 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 (CPS 2018 supplement). 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 3.4 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
25% Republican
42% Independent
34% Democrat
 
49% Male
51% Female
 
30% 18-34
33% 35-54
37% 55+
 
64% White
12% Black
16% Hispanic
  8% Asian/Other
 
68% No degree
32% 4 year degree
  

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

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs

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