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How is the Government handling the Coronavirus Outbreak?

Majorities approve of local and state government responses to the COVID-19 outbreak, while critical of the response from the federal government and Donald Trump, according to the AP-NORC Poll conducted in March 2020.

​Amid growing fears over contracting COVID-19, increasing numbers of the public are complying with recommendations to help stop its spread. There is strong public support for policies to deal with the virus, including prohibiting large gatherings, requiring people to stay home, closing schools and restaurants, and restricting travel.

Most Americans have a positive view of how their state and local governments are handling the coronavirus outbreak. However, only 44% approve of how President Trump has been dealing with the coronavirus outbreak and 38% approve of the federal government‘s handling of the problem.   

While Republicans and Democrats continue to have sharply divided views of the president and his administration, there are few partisan differences in how the public views the performance of their state and local governments. 

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Question: Do you approve, disapprove, or neither approve nor disapprove of how each of the following is handling the coronavirus outbreak?
Source: AP-NORC Poll conducted March 26-29, 2020 with 1,057 adults nationwide. 

Views of the president have not changed much during the course of this outbreak. Forty-three percent approve of Trump’s job performance overall, unchanged from the AP-NORC survey conducted in February 2020.  

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Question: Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president?/Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling ... ?
Source: AP-NORC Poll conducted March 26-29, 2020 with 1,057 adults nationwide. 

Americans also lack much confidence in the ability of U.S. health officials to handle this outbreak. Thirty-six percent have a great deal or quite a bit of confidence, while 35% have a moderate amount. Twenty-nine percent lack confidence in the ability of the government’s health officials to deal with this public health crisis. 

Americans are even less convinced in the capacity of their local hospitals to handle the outbreak. Just 15% say that their hospitals are well prepared, 47% say they are somewhat ready, while 38% say they are not well or not at all prepared for this. 

On March 27, Congress passed a $2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus bill with a bipartisan vote. Thirty-one percent approve of how leaders in Congress are handling the outbreak and 41% disapprove.

Concerns about COVID-19 continue to increase with half of Americans extremely or very concerned about someone in their family contracting the coronavirus up from 31% earlier in March. In comparison, concerns about the flu are more stable with about 2 in 10 expressing concern in both February and March. 

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Question: How worried are you about you or someone in your family being infected with ...
Source: AP-NORC Poll conducted March 26-29, 2020 with 1,057 adults nationwide. 

Partisan differences emerge when it comes to these concerns. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to be concerned about themselves or someone in their family contracting the coronavirus (61% vs. 35%). Fifty-three percent of independents are concerned.

Most Americans support government actions in response to the coronavirus outbreak. 

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Question: In response to the coronavirus outbreak, do you favor, oppose, or neither favor nor oppose each of the following?
Source: AP-NORC Poll conducted March 26-29, 2020 with 1,057 adults nationwide. 

The nationwide poll was conducted March 26-29, 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 with 1,057 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.