COVID-19 government response: How approval ratings in US and Canada compare

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
April 08, 2020, 6:03 PM GMT+0

Canadians seem to be much happier with their government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic than Americans.

YouGov continuously tracks sentiments around COVID-19 in several countries, including fear of contracting the virus, government response, changing daily behaviors and shifting consumer habits.

According to this profiling data, 75 percent of Canadians say their government is handling the issue somewhat or very well, compared to 52 percent of Americans who say so of their government.

It’s worth noting the question doesn’t specify the level of government and particularly in the United States there have been major differences in response between the federal level and other jurisdictions.

Since the two countries agreed to close their shared border to all but essential travel on March 20, top government leadership in the two nations have taken different political paths to help stop the spread of COVID-19. In Canada, there has been public co-operation between Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the provincial premiers, seven of whom are leaders of opposing right-leaning parties, including most notably Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford of Ontario, the nation’s most populous province.

President Donald Trump meanwhile has been sparring with state governors over aid and resources, including with J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, Jay Inslee of Washington and Andrew Cuomo of New York.

“Some have insatiable appetites & are never satisfied (politics?),” Trump tweeted on April 2, referring to state governments. “Remember, we are a backup for them. The complainers should have been stocked up and ready long before this crisis hit.”

A YouGov/CBS poll from late March indicated Americans are significantly more likely to trust their state governor (66%) over Trump (44%).

Fear of contracting the coronavirus is also higher north of the border, with 56 percent of Americans saying they are somewhat or very scared they’ll get COVID-19 versus 62 percent of Canadians.

Age breaks between nations are also largely in line with one another, with those age 18-24 the least fearful of contracting the disease.

Meanwhile, when comparing the two countries to others where YouGov has conducted the same research, Canada ranks among the top three, behind India and Denmark, both of which have implemented national lockdowns.

Images: Getty and Office of the Prime Minister

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