Governors’ approval ratings drop as COVID-19 cases rise

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Voters increasingly tired after months of the coronavirus pandemic are increasingly critical of their governors, especially in states where those governors have rushed to reopen the economy and are now experiencing a surge in new cases.A major survey by researchers from Harvard, the Northeast, the Northwest and Rutgers found that Americans in 44 states now have a lower opinion of how their governor is handling the coronavirus outbreak than they do. they only did so in April, at the height of the first wave of the pandemic. .

In more than two-thirds of states, the governor’s approval rating has dropped by more than 10 percentage points. Residents of just five states have a better impression of their governor’s response to the pandemic now than they did in April.

The poll, conducted over a two-week period this month of 19,052 adults in all 50 states, found that governors who were most reluctant to rush to reopen their own economies were rewarded by voters who also fear a return. premature to normal. .

On the other end of the spectrum are the governors who rushed to reopen their economies, or never really shut them down in the first place. These governors now oversee some of the most important hotspots in the United States, places where the virus is spreading virtually unchecked.

Only 28% of Iowans approve of Gov. Kim Reynolds (right) dealing with the outbreak. Only 30 percent of Arizonans approve of Governor Doug Ducey’s (R) treatment. Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) ‘s coronavirus approval rating is just 38%, two points higher than that of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R). And only 34% of Oklahomans approve of the way Governor Kevin Stitt (right), who himself has the virus, is handling the state’s response.

“In general, the governors who sought to reopen were in front of their citizens. They moved faster than the audience was comfortable with, ”said Matthew Baum, Marvin Kalb professor of global communications at Harvard Kennedy School and co-author of the study. “The governors who are doing really well are the ones who have acted the most proactively.”

Americans are prepared to give Democrats and Republicans high marks for strong leadership during the crisis; of the six governors with the highest approval ratings, three are Democrats and three are Republicans.

But it’s the Republican governors who dominate the lower ranks of the list. Fourteen of the 15 lowest-rated governors are Republicans; the only Democrat, Governor of Hawaii, David Ige (D), launched the pandemic as one of the least popular governors in the country. Only 39% of Hawaii residents approve of the work he does – a figure that has actually increased by two points since April.

One thing in common among the most popular governors: the vast majority of them have issued warrants ordering residents to wear masks in public. Twelve of the 15 most popular governors have issued masked warrants and only two of the 16 least popular governors – Abbott and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) – have issued warrants.

As the pandemic worsened, voters in the hardest-hit states abandoned their governors in droves. Ducey’s approval rating fell 26 points, while the governors of West Virginia, Arkansas, Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, Idaho, Nebraska, from Texas, Missouri, Kentucky and Minnesota all saw their scores drop by more than 20 points.

Even governors with high marks are not immune to those who might be tired of lockouts; Bakers’ approval rating is down 10 points in Bay State, while both Hogan and Raimondo’s are down 3 percentage points since April.

Of the five governors who saw their approval ratings increase, only two saw statistically significant increases – and under very different circumstances.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (R), on the other hand, has publicly argued with the White House, so much so that Trump has issued an empty threat to prevent Vice President Pence from speaking to her. Whitmer’s virus approval treatment stands at 67%, a 5-point increase since April.

“His confrontation with Trump seems to have gone well,” Baum said.

The vast majority of governors have one thing in common: They are still viewed more favorably than Trump, whose handling of the virus gets positive ratings from just under a third of Americans.

Trump’s approval rating is worse than governors in all but five states – Arizona, Iowa, Missouri, and Georgia, where residents have a better opinion of Trump than their Republican governors, and Tennessee, where residents see Trump and Governor Bill Lee (R) in an equally unfavorable light.

Trump’s ratings are dismal in the 13 key states his campaign sees as critical to his path to a second term. In those states, in which Trump has spent time or money campaigning, his handling of the virus is viewed favorably by an average of just 34% of those polled, two points above his national average.

Only 28% of Wisconsin residents approve of the work Trump is doing to control the out-of-control virus. Only 29% of Iowa residents said the same, as did only 30% of Michigan and New Hampshire. Its best swing state rating comes from Florida, where 39% view Trump’s handling of the virus in a favorable light, and Arizona and Georgia, where 38% said the same.

The survey, conducted by the COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States, interviewed these 19,052 people in all 50 states and the District of Columbia via an online platform between July 10 and July 26. National results have a margin of error. plus or minus 1 percentage point, while state-by-state surveys have a margin of error ranging from 5 percentage points in large states to 11 percentage points in Alaska and Wyoming.



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