Tuesday, March 17, 2020


I've been thinking that President Trump's new tone on the coronavirus crisis will persuade many Americans that he's our wise leader guiding us through the storm, but a new poll says that the public doesn't trust him on the pandemic.
Americans have little trust in the information they are hearing from President Trump about the novel coronavirus, and their confidence in the federal government's response to it is declining sharply, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Just 46% of Americans now say the federal government is doing enough to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, down from 61% in February.

Just 37% of Americans now say they had a good amount or a great deal of trust in what they're hearing from the president, while 60% say they had not very much or no trust at all in what he's saying.

Among respondents, 50% trust the news media, 72% trust state and local governments, and 84% trust public health experts. So that 37% number is abysmal.

And yet:
The president rates worst of all groups tested, be it public health officials, state and local leaders or the news media. And more Americans disapprove of the president's handling of the pandemic than approve by a 49%-44%. But that does not differ greatly from his overall job approval rating, which stands at 43%.
His approval/disapproval numbers are 43%/50%.

The coronavirus might be the most consequential event of our lifetimes -- and yet it appears that 6% of poll respondents who mistrust the president's words on the pandemic still approve of the job he's doing; 7% approve of the job he's doing on the pandemic even though they don't trust what he says about it.

There seem to be a number of Americans who have a vague belief that Trump is doing a good job (based on unemployment and the pre-coronavirus stock market, I guess) while also believing that his public persona is less than admirable. It's as if they believe it's all performance art, and privately he's a steady hand on the tiller even though he's obnoxious and ill-informed in public statements and on Twitter.

Those Americans may continue to believe in the two Trumps for a while longer. Or maybe not.


UPDATE: Also, from Axios:

This is about doing, not talking, and overall Trump is trusted the least -- although Republicans trust him the most.

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