Trump's insistence on ignoring coronavirus experts could get a lot of his supporters killed
Throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, President Trump's responses have varied widely, from dismissing the virus as some kind of Democratic hoax to insisting he took it seriously as a global health threat from the beginning. And yet, new polling shows that Trump is considered a trusted source on the outbreak among most Republicans. In fact, his approval ratings are rising.
If you want to be generous, you can describe the U.S.'s response to coronavirus as a clusterfuck. You don't have to look further than this weekend to see that. Despite social distancing measures still being recommended by health officials, Trump is re-assessing them as the economy falters, recently tweeting in all-caps, "WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF."
Trump's continued contradiction of medical professionals during a pandemic should make people pause. But instead, a poll from CBS News/YouGov found that 53% of U.S. adults generally approved of Trump's response to the crisis so far. And although the poll has a 2.3-percentage-point margin of error, even that can't redeem the next statistic.
One of the biggest — and most concerning — splits in the poll comes when people were asked if Trump is a trusted source and sorted by the political leanings. While 86% of Democrats said that Trump cannot be trusted, 90% of Republicans believe otherwise.
Notably, people polled by YouGov trust the CDC for information at about the same level despite party lines, with 87% for Democrats and 84% for Republicans. It's interesting to see how Republicans can view both Trump and the CDC as trusted sources when earlier this month he rejected expert advice to begin social distancing and has often contradicted national health experts.
"We will have tremendous rallies and we're doing very well and we've done a fantastic job with respect to that subject on the virus," Trump told reporters earlier this month at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Now, Mar-a-Lago has been shut down as more than a dozen people who had been at the president's club have tested positive for coronavirus.
Trump's approval ratings aren't unique to YouGov's poll alone. This month, Monmouth University found that 50% of U.S. adults think Trump is doing a "good job" during the crisis, with 45% saying he's doing a "bad job."
In addition, Monmouth found that Trump's approval rating saw a 2% increase compared to February, and a 7% increase compared to March 2019. However, Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray said, "Trump has cast himself as a wartime president, but the small increase in his current job rating falls far short of the 'rally round the flag' effect past presidents have experienced."