Americans generally approve of the government’s managing of crises. The coronavirus epidemic is no different. In the last few weeks, opinions of both the President and Congress have improved – with President Donald Trump’s overall approval rating the highest its been during the Trump Presidency, according to Economist/YouGov Polls. Even Congress, whose rating is almost always in negative territory, gets improved marks.
Trump’s approval rating among all US adults has touched positive territory, though just barely, and the difference between approval (47%) and disapproval (46%) is not statistically significant. Just 16 percent of Democrats approve of the way Trump is handling his job. So do 45 percent of political Independents, giving Trump the best ratings of his presidency.
Trump’s approval rating on handling the economy has jumped to 55 percent – and here even more Democrats (27%) approve. Opinions of Trump’s handling of health care is divided: 44 percent approve and 46 percent disapprove. Exactly half (50%) now approve of his handling of the coronavirus. 42 percent disapprove. That is the highest positive rating he has scored on this question.
The federal government just passed a $2 trillion relief bill to help those Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a bill that most Americans support. In questions about the components of the bill, those programs directed at individuals and those aiding hospitals receive the approval of 80 percent or more of the public.
The elements meant to help businesses in general (as well as prohibit those who are federal officers from benefiting from that assistance) are supported by at least 70 percent of the public. There is less support for actions that would benefit the airlines and the Washington, D.C. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. That grant is now under attack, and most Americans don’t see the need for it.
Leaders across the US government are benefiting from actions taken. The improvement in opinions of government leaders has also affected how Americans view Congress. For that branch of government, it is a significant and dramatic drop in negative opinions in the last week that matters. The share of the public that disapproves of the way Congress is handling its job dropped 10 points in the last week, to its lowest level in years. Approval rose seven points, to 26% today.
When it comes to Congressional handling of the coronavirus, the results are similar to the ratings for the President, though fewer hold opinions: 47 percent approve of how Congress has handled the virus, 39 percent disapprove. Democrats give more positive evaluations for Congress on this issue than Republicans do.
Three-quarters of the public worry about more members of Congress coming down with coronavirus: about half are concerned that could prevent the government from functioning properly, with Democrats more likely than Republicans to be worried about this. All groups of partisans agree (65% to 13% overall) that Members should be able to carry on their business and vote from their offices away from Washington.
The President’s gain in overall approval has not directly translated into voting success – though it has impacted the way voters – especially Democratic voters – view his likelihood of November election success. President Trump’s most likely opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, continues to lead in a head to head contest among all registered voters, although narrowly. But the President is seen as the likely winner among the same group.
Biden has yet to win the full support of those who favor Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination. Only two-thirds of those Democratic voters currently would vote for Biden over the President. Fully one in three Sanders supporters says the President will beat the Democrat, as do one in 10 Biden voters.
With the Democratic nomination process effectively on hold, Biden has had a difficult time breaking through to Sanders voters (or to anyone else) in the last few weeks, as the coronavirus crisis expands. More than three-fourths (77%) of Sanders voters don’t think he should drop out before the convention, despite Biden’s large lead. One in four Sanders voters don’t believe the Senator should help Joe Biden in the fall or aren’t sure what he should do; nearly a third say he should help Biden only with conditions attached.
As for the conventions themselves, at the moment just one in five voters – Republicans as well as Democrats – believe they should be held as currently planned. Twice as many would postpone them, 15 percent would cancel them entirely.