Most Americans think President Trump waited too long to act on COVID-19

April 13, 2020, 5:00 PM GMT+0

Most Americans (57%) now believe that President Donald Trump waited too long to act on the COVID-19 pandemic that is devastating the nation, according to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll.

That is especially true of Democrats (85% of them say this), and a majority of Independents (56%). Most Republicans (71%) are happy with the speed of the president’s response, but one in five Republicans (20%) think he should have moved faster.

Americans also want more action from the president: by more than three to one, US adults say President Trump should (65%) issue a national stay-at-home order. Republicans agree 51 percent to 33 percent.

Who do Americans now trust when it comes to information about the actions one should take when it comes to COVID-19? Last Friday, Trump appeared to disagree with the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendation that Americans wear a non-medical face mask whenever they go out in public. The President noted that this was only a recommendation and that he would not wear a face mask.

Americans in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll take the CDC recommendation seriously. Up until this week, relatively few Americans wore a face mask in public. Only one in five (20%) said they did that last week. This week, one-third (34%) said they had done so. The poll was conducted after Friday’s conflicting announcements. Looking ahead, however, a majority (55%) said they would.

Women are more likely than men to say they will wear a mask; there is no gender difference in those reporting they have done so. Those in the Northeast are far more likely than those in other regions to have worn a face mask (46% say they have already done that), and are more likely to say they will in the future.

The Centers for Disease Control, along with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, holds a high place in American opinion when it comes to trusting their medical advice. About seven in ten (71%) trust the CDC and a majority (57%) trust Dr. Fauci. They are trusted by both Democrats and Republicans.

However, Republicans are as likely to trust President Trump’s medical advice as they are to trust the CDC; they have more confidence in what the President says than in Dr. Fauci’s advice.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has also been giving daily televised briefings, is more trusted than not, though many don’t have an opinion about the quality of his advice. However, Americans like Cuomo, and by about two to one. A majority (57%) of adults have a favorable opinion of the Governor in the epicenter of the epidemic, while about one-fourth (26%) are unfavorable.

Cuomo earns better favorable ratings than the President (44% favorable and 51% unfavorable) and leading Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden (44% favorable, 47% unfavorable). One in three Republicans (32%) are favorable towards Cuomo, 46% are not.

Last week, the President’s approval rating reached an all-time high in Economist/YouGov Polls. So did the assessment of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. This week, both assessments slipped back some, and his overall approval is near where it has been for most of his Administration.

This week, 45 percent approve and about half (51%) disapprove of how President Trump is handling his job as President. Last week, 47 percent approved and 46 percent did not.

America is now split on President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic. This week, 46 percent approve and 47 percent disapprove of his; last week, 50 percent approved and 42 percent disapproved.

So far, many Americans aren’t happy with the federal government’s actions in the coronavirus crisis. Just three in 10 Americans (31%) say the federal government’s handling of the crisis has been good or excellent, compared with about half (49%) who say this about the way their state government and their local government has handled it.

Even more problematic, perhaps, is that while Americans think the federal government should be leading the response to the coronavirus (51%), only one in four (26%) believe it is actually doing that. More see the state government as taking the leadership position (47%), including most of those who believe the federal government should take the lead.

Related: Americans support voting by mail—and so do the states

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll

Image: Getty