How do Americans view the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak?

AP-NORC poll: Support for Donald Trump, federal government split along partisan lines

Amid growing fears over contracting COVID-19, increasing numbers of the public are complying with recommendations to help stop its spread.

According to a recent poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs at the University of Chicago, more than 80% of Americans support policies such as prohibiting large gatherings, closing schools and banning travel into the U.S.

Roughly 6 in 10 support postponing elections scheduled in the next two months.

Surveying 1,057 adults nationwide from March 26-29, the poll also finds that 44% approve of how President Donald Trump has been dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. Only 38% approve of the federal government’s handling of the problem—with views sharply divided between Republicans (63%) and Democrats (21%).

Views of the president have not changed much during the course of this outbreak: 43% approve of Trump’s job performance overall, unchanged from the AP-NORC survey conducted in February 2020.

The AP-NORC poll finds fewer partisan differences in public perception of state and local governments, whose performances earn approval from a majority of Republicans and Democrats.

Americans also lack confidence in the ability of U.S. health officials to handle this outbreak. Just 36% percent have a great deal or quite a bit of confidence, while another 35% have a moderate amount.

Americans are even less convinced in the capacity of their local hospitals to handle the outbreak: Only 15% of respondents consider their hospitals to be well prepared, while 47% say the hospitals are somewhat ready.

On March 27, Congress passed a $2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus bill with a bipartisan vote. Thirty-one percent approve of how leaders in Congress are handling the outbreak and 41% disapprove.

Concerns about COVID-19 continue to increase, with half of Americans extremely or very concerned about someone in their family contracting the coronavirus—up from 31% earlier in March. In comparison, concerns about the flu are more stable, with about 2 in 10 expressing concern in both February and March.

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to be concerned about themselves or someone in their family contracting the coronavirus (61% vs. 35%). Fifty-three percent of independents are concerned.

The nationwide poll was conducted March 26-29 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,057 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

—Adapted from a story originally posted by NORC at the University of Chicago.