Fox News Poll: Trump job approval hits new high as voters rally during crisis
By Dana Blanton | Fox News April 9, 2020:
Approval of President Trump’s job performance inches up to a record high in the latest Fox News Poll, as voters rally to both the White House and Congress in the fight against coronavirus.
Amid widespread concerns about the virus’s spread and personally getting infected, 49 percent approve of the job Trump is doing as president. That’s up from 48 percent two weeks ago and 47 percent in late February.
Forty-nine percent of voters disapprove, marking only the third time in Fox News polling that fewer than half rate him negatively.
Eighty-nine percent of Republicans approve of Trump, which is not far from his record 91 percent in January. In addition, approval sits at or near his best among women, Democrats, whites, and white evangelical Christians.
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Voters give Congress an even bigger ratings bump than the president: 35 percent approve of the job lawmakers are doing, up four points since March and up nine since late February.
On responding to the pandemic, 51 percent approve of Trump. But it’s Dr. Anthony Fauci who gets the best ratings of those tested, as 80 percent approve of him, while 62 percent approve of Dr. Deborah Birx and 52 percent Vice President Pence.
By a 21-point margin, voters are more likely to approve of how their state government (77 percent) is handling the pandemic than the federal government (56 percent).
Trump’s rating on the pandemic is dampened by over half (55 percent) thinking the government responded too slowly and nearly half (47 percent) feeling he isn’t taking it seriously enough.
“The president’s bump in approval isn’t huge, and certainly not on par with the rally effect for George W. Bush after 9/11,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Democrat Chris Anderson. “But it could be consequential that he’s closing in on 50 percent, which is critical for his re-election chances.”
On specific aspects of dealing with the pandemic, Trump receives his highest score on empathizing with Americans (51 percent) and lowest on understanding the facts (45 percent). About half say he is providing strong leadership (48 percent) and making good policy decisions (47 percent).
Concerns about the virus are high. Fully 94 percent worry about the virus spreading. Seventy-six percent are concerned about catching it, up from 69 percent two weeks ago.
Large majorities are also concerned about their state running out of medical equipment to treat coronavirus patients (80 percent), being able to access health care services (77 percent), and getting a coronavirus test (75 percent).
Twenty-one percent know someone who has the virus, up from 12 percent two weeks ago. In addition, most, 79 percent, fear they or someone in their family could die from it.
And while most expect the worst is still ahead (75 percent), a majority of 57 percent says the country is moving in the right direction in the fight against the pandemic.
By a 40-point margin, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to think things are going in the right direction on dealing with the pandemic. And by an 18-point margin, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to think the worst is yet to come.
Overall, 8 in 10 favor a national stay-in-place order (80 percent) and requiring some companies temporarily produce medical supplies (84 percent).
Views are more mixed on the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package passed in late March: 39 percent think it was too little, while 39 percent say it was about right. Ten percent say too much. Over twice as many Democrats (56 percent) as Republicans (23 percent) think it was too small.
Views on economy sink during pandemic
Almost all voters are concerned the pandemic will lead to a recession (91 percent), most worry it will lead to economic hardship for their family (79 percent), and half of households (50 percent) have lost a job or had work hours reduced because of coronavirus.
That leads views on the economy to nose-dive. The number rating the economy positively is down 29 points since January. Now the largest share, 43 percent, say it is in poor shape, the highest level since October 2013.
These are the worst marks of Trump’s tenure, and the decline is due largely to Republicans: 41 percent rate the economy positively (excellent/good), down from 85 percent in January — a 44-point drop. Among Democrats, the shift was 18 points (from 31 to 13 percent).
“With this economic implosion so directly linked to coronavirus, the degree to which voters blame Trump for economic conditions will likely be based on whether or not they decide he could have mitigated the pandemic’s impact by preparing the country as soon as he was first warned,” says Anderson.
Voters see things changing soon. Forty-four percent think the economy will get better over the next year, 35 percent see it getting worse, and 16 percent expect no change. More than twice as many Republicans (66 percent) as Democrats (27 percent) see things improving next year.
In response to the pandemic, 88 percent report changing how they lead their life at least somewhat, including 56 percent who have changed things “a great deal.”
More say their interactions with others feel friendlier and more compassionate (34 percent) these days than less friendly (21 percent). Another one-third say not much difference (35 percent).
When asked to share any silver linings in the crisis, top mentions include a sense of community (13 percent), more family time (11 percent), the nation being better prepared for future outbreaks (10 percent), the nation being stronger in the future (8 percent), and time for personal reflection (8 percent). One in five is unable to think of an upside (21 percent).
Conducted April 4-7, 2020 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with 1,107 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide who spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.