As on so many things, a new Axios|SurveyMonkey poll fielded October 2-3 shows a nearly even divide on the question of whether the president has acted “responsibly” or “irresponsibly” in handling his own diagnosis with the coronavirus (51% to 45%). Also predictably there’s a stark partisan gap: 88% of Republicans see Trump as acting responsibly, while 73% of Democrats see him as acting irresponsibly.
Republicans’ rosy view on Trump’s handling of the new situation matches their overall trust in him when it comes to what he’s doing to protect the American people from the C19 outbreak. Just as in a March Axios|SurveyMonkey poll, more than 80% of Republicans trust him on this front. Their trust in others has declined precipitously over the same period of time: among Republicans, the percentage trusting the WHO dropped 30 points, CDC by 16, and NIH by 14 points. By contrast, trust for these institutions remained stable among independents and Democrats.
More people now than in March say news reports about the seriousness of coronavirus are generally correct (45% now, up from 39%), and fewer people say they are generally exaggerated (32% now, down from 44%).
What does this mean for the campaign ahead?
Majorities of Republicans want upcoming campaign events to be held in person: 60% want the next presidential debate, scheduled for October 15, to be held in person, and 63% want campaign events for both Trump and Biden to be held in person. Independents and Democrats, however, are pushing for the debate (53% and 55%) and especially campaign events (57% and 70%) to be held virtually. More than twice as many Democrats as Republicans say the next presidential debate should be canceled altogether (26% vs. 11%).
Finally, new data from SurveyMonkey tracking surveys shows small, but clear bumps in % of voters “very worried” about the spread of C19 in the U.S., its having a negative economic effect, and the risk of their own exposure. But there’s no quick shift in underlying measures of President Trump’s job performance, or the head-to-head between Trump and Biden, at least in the national numbers.