The public outlook remains gloomy

A majority continue to feel the country is moving in the wrong direction. Most disapprove of the President’s handling of the pandemic and continue to worry about becoming infected with coronavirus.

September 17, 2020

A majority continue to feel the country is moving in the wrong direction. And most remain at least somewhat worried about a coronavirus infection in their household, have little confidence in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and disapprove of how President Trump is handling the pandemic. 

Seventy-two percent of the public, including 53% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats, say the country is headed in the wrong direction. 

Thirty-eight percent are extremely or very worried that they or someone in their family will contract COVID-19 and another 31% are somewhat worried.  Democrats, Black and Hispanic Americans, and those with a college degree are most likely to express concern. 

Most Americans disapprove of the President’s overall job performance and his handling of the coronavirus, health care, foreign policy, race relations, and policing.  The public is divided in their assessment of the president’s management of the economy and the military.

Seventy-five percent of Republicans approve of how Trump is handling the outbreak of the coronavirus and 96% of Democrats disapprove.  There is less partisan division regarding the CDC.  Thirty-four percent of Democrats have a great deal of confidence in the CDC, as do 22% of Republicans. 

Confidence in other institutions is also low.   Only the military is viewed with a great deal of confidence by a majority of Americans, albeit through a partisan lens.  Seventy-three percent of Republicans have a lot of confidence in the military; less than 40% of Democrats or independents agree. 

The nationwide poll was conducted September 11-14, 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 1,108 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.0 percentage points.

Suggested Citation: AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.  (September, 2020). “The Public Outlook Remains Gloomy.” []



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