Americans trust governors more than Trump on coronavirus, new poll finds

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Seven in 10 Americans also say they trust their governor over the president when it comes to reopening businesses.

President Donald Trump listens during a roundtable discussion at the White House on June 15.Doug Mills / Pool via Getty Images

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Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.SUBSCRIBEJuly 7, 2020, 8:31 AM UTCBy Ben Kamisar and Melissa Holzberg

WASHINGTON — Americans have significantly more confidence in their governors than in President Donald Trump when it comes to handling the coronavirus, according to new data from an NBC News/SurveyMonkey Weekly Tracking Poll.

Forty-three percent of respondents approve of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, while 55 percent disapprove.

That’s compared to 60 percent of Americans who say they approve of how their governors are handling the response and just 37 percent who said they disapprove.

And 7 out of 10 Americans say they trust their governors over the president to decide when to reopen businesses in their area. Just 25 percent say they trust Trump over their governors. Even among Republicans, just over half — 53 percent — say they trust the president’s judgment on reopening over that of their governors.

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The data come from the first installment of a weekly online tracking poll on social and economic issues that will be released over the coming months.

More than 2.9 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 131,000 deaths in the U.S. have been attributed to the virus, according to NBC News’ analysis.

As case counts and deaths have continued rising since the spring, the president has downplayed the surge, blaming it on increased testing. While the president has been slow to publicly support mask-wearing and other social distancing techniques, his hope that the virus will “disappear” isn’t in line with Americans’ fears of a second wave.

Seventy-nine percent of Americans said they were either “very” or “somewhat” worried about a second wave — 62 percent of Republicans reported being worried, and an overwhelming 83 percent of Democrats said the same.

However, the president’s overall job rating has remained consistent throughout the pandemic. Trump’s overall job approval stands at 43 percent, in line with various polls taken since March.

As states have begun to reopen businesses in recent months — moves that have been frustrated by the rising case counts — Trump has sought to promote the country’s reopening and frame a return to normal as an economic imperative.

Sixty-three percent of Americans said they feared that businesses were opening “too quickly,” while just a third said businesses were reopening “too slowly.” But the split nearly flips when the question is asked of Republicans. Just 37 percent of Republicans believed businesses were opening too quickly, while 61 percent said reopenings were too slow.

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Even though more business are open, however, most Americans haven’t gone to newly reopened businesses. When asked why they’ve left their homes in the previous 24 hours, just 16 percent said they ate at bars or restaurants, and 22 percent said they left home to exercise. Forty-four percent said they left home to go for walks or to get fresh air, and 55 percent said they left home to buy groceries.

And while group gathering restrictions have relaxed in most states, just 27 percent of Americans reported having left their homes to visit with friends or family in the day before taking the survey.

The data come from a set of SurveyMonkey online polls conducted June 29-July 5, 2020, among a national sample of 44,557 adults in the U.S. Respondents were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 1.0 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States ages 18 and over.

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