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Governors Still Ahead of President in Approval Ratings of COVID Management, Survey Says

Rutgers scholar Katherine Ognyanova is available to comment on the latest Rutgers-Harvard-Northeastern-Northwestern survey data from The COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States.

The researchers surveyed 19,052 people across all 50 states plus the District of Columbia from July 10 – 26. The researchers polled participants about President Trump’s and the 50 governors’ responses to COVID-19. The survey also charts how public opinion has changed since late April.

To view the full report and findings, click here.

Among the findings:

  • America’s governors continue to enjoy a 19 percentage point advantage over the president in public support for their handling of the pandemic (51% vs 32%).
  • Approval of Trump’s handling of COVID-19 has dropped 10 points (from 42%) since late April poll.
  • In many southern states, respondents’ views of the president’s performance were closely tied to those of their state’s governor. In Louisiana, for instance, Governor Edwards has seen his approval rating on COVID fall from 67% in April to 50% in late July, as cases in the state have surged.
  • Support for Governor DeWine of Ohio — a Republican governor in a Republican-leaning state who shut down the state’s economy relatively early in the pandemic and has mandated mask wearing — has continued its slide. DeWine’s approval rating in April was the highest in the nation at 81%, but has fallen to 58%.
  • In two states confronting resurgences of COVID-19 — California and Washington — support for the governors’ handling of the pandemic has stabilized at 58 and 57 percent, respectively, with President Trump’s approval lagging behind. This suggests that, where citizens perceive governors as having taken decisive actions to stem the spread, they may be less likely to blame them for subsequent surges, at least in the short term.
  • The governors of Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wyoming, and Virginia have risen in popularity since last month’s poll. Of these, only Maine has seen a decline in cases since late June.

Katherine Ognyanova is an assistant professor at Rutgers’ School of Communication and Information. She conducts research in network science, computational social science, social technology, media, civic and political communication.

Additional collaborators on the report include: David Lazer, Alexi Quintana, Matthew Simonson and Hanyu Chwe of Northeastern University; Matthew A. Baum and John Della Volpe of Harvard University; James Druckman of Northwestern University; Roy H. Perlis and Mauricio Santillana of Harvard Medical School

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