SharePoint
Public Affairs

Government Performance during COVID-19

The president’s job ratings continue to hold steady during the coronavirus outbreak, according to the AP-NORC Poll conducted in May 2020, even as few Americans approve of how the federal government is handling the pandemic. 

​As states begin to lift restrictions put in place to curb the coronavirus outbreak, most Americans continue to support many of those constraints and see local restrictions as appropriate.  Most say President Trump is not paying enough attention to medical experts and few Americans approve of how Trump or the federal government as a whole are handling the coronavirus outbreak.  

Overall, the president’s job approval has remained steady as 41% of Americans approve and 58% disapprove. Similarly, 39% approve of how Trump is handling the coronavirus outbreak and 60% disapprove.    

The public continues to assess the Trump administration and the coronavirus crisis through a partisan lens.  Republicans overwhelmingly approve of how the president is handling his job overall and his handling of the pandemic, while Democrats strongly disapprove.  


The public has a more favorable opinion of how their state and local officials have been handling the coronavirus outbreak than the federal government or Congressional leaders. However, this support has declined over the past month.  


About 6 in 10 Democrats approve of how state and local governments are dealing with the pandemic, compared with less than half of Republicans.  And 52% of Republicans have a positive view of the federal government’s handling of the crisis and only 18% of Democrats agree.  

Overall, 62% percent think the president should be listening to health experts more in dealing with the coronavirus.  Only 7% say he paying too much attention to them and 31% think it’s the right amount. Again, these assessments vary depending on a person’s partisanship.  


Overall, 54% say the restrictions put in place in their area are about right to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, down from 61% last month. Eighteen percent think they go too far and 27% say they don’t go far enough. More Republicans regard the restrictions as excessive compared to April, but a majority still feel they are appropriate. 


Social distancing measures like closing bars and restaurants, limiting trips out of the house, keeping gatherings under 10 people, and restricting travel within the United States continue to have broad support.  However, support has been declining, especially among Republicans. 


Similar to assessments in April, 33% of the public think the country is heading in the right direction and 65% think it is going in the wrong direction.  And only 36% expect things to get better for the country as a whole in the next year.  However, Republicans have a much more positive view of where the country is today and are more optimistic about it over the next year than Democrats.  


The nationwide poll was conducted May 14-18, 2020 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with1,056 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. 


 resources

 Other content from this survey