WASHINGTON — Views of how government at all levels is handling the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. have deteriorated somewhat over the past month, as a growing minority of Americans prefer that states lift restrictions on social and economic life.
Still, Americans remain more likely to approve of the actions of their state government than of the federal government or Congress. At the same time, the new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows ratings of President Donald Trump’s overall performance remain remarkably steady, as they have for much of his presidency.
Among other findings in the survey of American adults, conducted May 14-18:
• Only about a third of Americans approve of how the federal government is handling the pandemic, while more — roughly half — now disapprove. The balance of opinion has shifted from one month ago, when 4 in 10 approved and about as many disapproved.
— The bleak assessment of the federal government compares with more positive opinions of how state governments are doing dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. Currently, 51% approve of state governments’ response, while 33% disapprove. Still, approval of states has also dipped since April, when 63% approved of the response from state governments.
— While overall views have soured, state governments still see bipartisan support from Americans who favor COVID-19 restrictions. Among those who support stay-at-home orders, close to 7 in 10 across party lines approve of their state government’s response.
But Americans who oppose stay-at-home orders — most of whom are Republican — are far more negative in their assessments, with 56% saying they disapprove of how state governments are handling the outbreak.
— Stay-at-home orders and other virus restrictions are still supported by majorities of Americans. But there’s been a modest dip in support over the past month, concentrated particularly among Republicans. Just 45% of Republicans now say they favor stay-at-home orders, while about as many (41%) are opposed. In April, 70% of Republicans expressed support. Seventy-eight percent of Democrats are in favor, down from 91% last month.
— Partisans also diverge significantly over the necessary conditions for lifting restrictions in their area, though there is agreement that people exposed to the virus must isolate themselves if restrictions are to be lifted. Eighty-seven percent of Democrats and 68% of Republicans describe this as essential.