Who do Americans trust to handle the COVID-19 pandemic?

Candice JaimungalSocial Media Contributor
September 18, 2020, 12:00 PM UTC

Nearly half (45%) of Americans say they are confident in Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s ability to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, compared to about two in five (39%) who say they are confident in President Donald Trump’s ability to deal with the pandemic, according to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll. 

The data comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States reaches 6.6 million and with the 2020 presidential election less than two months away. The presidential candidates have each sought to bolster their own credibility on handling the pandemic while pointing out the weaknesses of their opponent before the election. During a September town hall with ABC News, Trump said his administration has done a “tremendous job” in handling the virus and that he “really believe we’re rounding the corner.” Trump also blamed Biden for not implementing a national mask mandate despite his support for the policy; in response, Biden posted on Twitter: “To be clear: I am not currently president.” 

Americans are more likely to be uneasy with President Trump’s ability to handle COVID-19 (55%), than Biden(44%). However, Republicans (84%) are more likely than Independents (36%) and Democrats (4%) to say they are confident in President Trump’s ability to handle the pandemic. 

Americans are split (45% vs. 44%) on whether to be confident or uneasy about Biden’s ability to handle the pandemic. Democrats (83%) are more likely than Independents (37%) and Republicans (6%) to say they are confident in Biden’s ability to deal with COVID-19. 

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

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between September 13 - 15, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.4% for the overall sample. 

Image: Getty