In six months of polling the virus, Trump’s approval for his handling of the pandemic hit a low of 33% in a July 10 poll, after peaking in the early days of the crisis – 55% in a poll from March 20.
With deep cracks along partisan lines, Trump continues to face obstacles beyond his basic support on this particular issue. While 80% of Republicans approve of his handling of the pandemic, only 31% of independents and 5% of Democrats say the same. One in five Republican and an overwhelming 95% of Democrats and 69% of Independents disapprove of his response to the coronavirus.
About two-thirds of the country believe the president has acted too slowly to respond to the outbreak and is also wary of what he has said about the coronavirus – a precarious reality for Trump who faces re-election in less than two months months in a campaign widely seen as a referendum on its response to the unprecedented crisis.
The new poll came at the end of a controversial week for the president.
Trump, who was criticized early on in the coronavirus pandemic for a slow response, faces renewed scrutiny after it was revealed that the President told reporter Bob Woodward that he had deliberately downplayed the threat of pandemic to the public earlier this year, according to reports from CNN and the Washington Post.
“I always wanted to play it down,” Trump said on March 19, just days after declaring the coronavirus crisis a national emergency. “I always like to minimize it, because I don’t want to cause panic. ”
It appears that the release of audio tapes of Woodward’s interview with Trump had little impact on the country’s negative views on Trump’s approach and leadership on the major crisis of his presidency.
The percentage of Americans who are suspicious of what Trump says about the coronavirus pandemic is similar to an ABC News / Washington Post poll in mid-July, in which only 34% of Americans trusted the president on the virus , while 64% were suspicious of his rhetoric. .
And even members of Trump’s own party are worried about his efforts to deal with the coronavirus – with Republicans more divided in their confidence in his approach to the pandemic than in their doubts about his main rival, Joe Biden.
Just over a quarter of Republicans (28%) believe Trump has responded too slowly to the coronavirus, and 26% have reservations about his rhetoric. More than two-thirds of Republicans said they have moved on at the right pace (69%) and trust what he said about the pandemic (74%).
The number of Republicans who distrust Biden climbs to 90%, compared to 10% who trust what he has said.
These aren’t the only cracks in Trump’s base.
Half of white Americans without a college degree consider Trump’s response to be late than it should have been (50%) and are skeptical of what he said about the coronavirus (51%) . Just under half think they’ve responded at the right pace (48%) and trust them (48%).
Meanwhile, two-thirds of white Americans without a college degree are skeptical of Biden, while a third are confident in the former vice president’s rhetoric.
For Biden, most Americans are divided in their confidence in what he said about the virus, with a slim majority (51%) believing him, compared to 49% who are more skeptical.
In his own base, Biden has the trust of 85% Democrats, higher support than Trump with Republicans, while 15% are more questionable.
Beyond the coronavirus, Trump was already mired in controversy this week after The Atlantic published an explosive story on September 3 detailing the Commander-in-Chief’s alleged criticism of members of the US military – with sources Anonymous claiming that he called them “losers” and “suckers” and questioned their motivations for pursuing a career in the service.
Most Americans, by a 2-1 margin, think Biden has more respect for those who serve in uniform than Trump.
Among Republicans, Trump is viewed as the candidate with more respect for the military than Biden, 81% to 16%. Among Democrats, the numbers are reversing, with 93% saying Biden has more esteem for the military, compared with 7% who said the same about Trump. Biden is also leading among the independents, with 65% on his side, compared to 35% for Trump.
This ABC News / Ipsos survey was conducted by KnowledgePanel® of Ipsos Public Affairs from September 11 to 12, 2020, in English and Spanish, with a random national sample of 533 adults. The results have a sampling error of 4.7 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 31-25-38 percent, Democrats-Republicans-Independents. View key survey results and methodology details here.