Trump’s COVID-19 response, race relations and overall approval ratings drop amid pandemic, survey finds

WASHINGTON – Three months of crises – from the volatile economy to racial reckoning that’s grown out of George Floyd’s death to ongoing pandemic – have taken a toll on President Trump.

At least in terms of how Americans rate his job performance.

A majority (55{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9}) strongly or somewhat disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president, while a combined 39 percent strongly or somewhat approve, according to a survey from the Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape Project. Since April, he’s been battered from both sides: His approval rating has dropped 7 percentage points. His disapproval rating has climbed 5 percentage points.

“There’s a bunch of dimensions here where Trump has done varying levels of worse compared to how he was doing just a couple months ago,” said Robert Griffin, research director for the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, noting the changes in Trump’s overall approval rating, as well as voter sentiments on how the president has handled the pandemic and other key issues. “In just about everything, you’re seeing the sort of decline of how (voters are) sort of assessing his presidency.”

The number of COVID-19 cases has continued to rise across the country, leading more than half of all states to halt reopening efforts and to implement new guidelines to try and tackle the ongoing rise of cases. Amid the pandemic, Americans also still protesting against systemic racism facing Black Americans and other people of color. On top of that, the unemployment rate still hovers in double digits, though it has decreased since earlier this year.

“We’re just seeing … a bad couple of months potentially for this president when it comes to his approval of the job he is doing with the American public,” Griffin said.

Poll: Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by 15 points, his widest margin this year

Trump has also trailed in support in a head-to-head match-up with former vice president Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee. Over the past several weeks, polling has shown the former vice president ahead nationally and in key states. That trend is continuing, according to the Nationscape Insights analysis, a project of Democracy Fund, UCLA and USA TODAY.

When asked who they would support, nearly half of registered Americans (49{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9}) said they would support Biden in November compared to 41{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9} who said they would support the president. That’s slightly better for Biden and worse for Trump than April, when 48{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9} of registered Americans said they would support Biden and 43{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9} said they would support Trump.

The Democracy Fund and UCLA Nationscape Project is a large-scale study of the American electorate designed to conduct 500,000 interviews about policies and the presidential candidates during the 2020 election cycle. The latest poll was conducted between July 2 and 8, surveying 6,006 Americans. There is a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points. The older poll was conducted the week of April 9 to 15, surveying 6,118 Americans. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

How Trump fares on coronavirus response, race relations 

The majority of Americans now disapprove of the way Trump is handling two issues that are seen by many as defining the November election, according to the survey. 

When asked about Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the majority of Americans (56{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9}) somewhat or strong disapprove of his performance, while 37{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9} somewhat or strongly approve. That’s an 8-point swing from April, when 45{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9} of Americans approved of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus and 48{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9} disapproved.

When it comes to race relations, the majority of Americans (56{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9}) somewhat or strongly disapprove of Trump’s handling, with only 32{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9} of Americans saying they approve of his handling. Trump’s approval rating for race relations in April was at 34{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9}, with 51{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9} of Americans disapproving of his handling of race relations.

Trump’s approval rating for his handling of the economy has also seen a slight change. A combined 44{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9} of Americans somewhat or strongly disapprove of Trump’s handling of the economy, with 46{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9} of Americans saying they approve, according to the survey. That’s worse than April, when half of Americans said they approved of Trump’s handling of the economy and 40{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9} disapproved.

One issue that didn’t see much change was Trump’s handling of health care. In both April and July, 50{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9} of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of health care policy. A combined 36{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9} approved of it in July, just a 1 percentage point drop from April.

Griffin said that “there’s long term trends that exists” on “how the American public perceives the two political parties and how well they handle different types of issues,” such as health care and the economy. 

More: Even Senate races have caught COVID-19, boosting Democrats’ chances of winning control of the chamber

He noted that history is likely why there wasn’t a large change in how Americans view the president’s performance in those issues, even amid a recession and a global pandemic. 

“(Health care) was not an issue that on the whole, the American public was ready to present in a positive light,” Griffin said. 

“The American public just doesn’t seem to be interacting with the pandemic in that fashion. There’s much more of a concern around things being reopened and schools being reopened and concerns about jobs, than sort of the debate that has been transforming into ‘how are we making sure that everyone is able to pay for all the costs associated with hospitalization?’ or testing or anything like that.’ “

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump approval rating, race relations rating drop amid COVID-19, survey shows