President Donald Trump hit a record high of 61 per cent approval among Americans for his handling of the coronavirus crisis, according to a Hill-HarrisX poll.
It was conducted online with 2,001 registered voters between March 14-15 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.
Sixty-one percent of registered voters said they strongly or somewhat agree that the administration is taking strong enough measures to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19 as the pandemic upends their lives and the economy. Only 39 percent said they strongly or somewhat disagree.
The president is currently dealing with a torrent of criticism for announcing in a Monday press conference he wants to reopen for business as soon as possible because, “Our country wasn’t built to be shut down. This is not a country that was built for this.”
“America will again and soon be open for business. Very soon. A lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting,” he added.
Critics think the plan is ludicrous because coronavirus cases in the U.S. now exceed 46,000 with 569 deaths. He has been butting heads with medical experts who criticize his promotion of malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as potential “game changers.” They also say the outbreak has not yet peaked and predict it will last for several months.
“I was telling them, if it was up to the doctors, they would keep it shut down, they would say ‘let’s shut down the entire world.’ You can’t do that,” Trump said.
“We can’t have the cure be worse than the problem,” he told stunned reporters. “We have to open our country because that causes problems that, in my opinion, could be far bigger problems.”
Karlyn Bowman, public opinion analyst and senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute told The Hill, “Publics tend to rally around their presidents in time of national emergency, and it’s something we’ve observed in many situations.”
“We’re seeing strong agreement in many polls that the Trump administration is taking strong measures. That said, I think we have to be cautious about the deep differences on Republicans, Democrats, and Independents on your question,” Bowman noted. “We’re seeing that in other polls too, which indicates that partisan disagreements are still there, still very powerful and that could limit the rally.”
The survey also found 88 percent of Republican voters agreed that the administration was taking strong enough measures to combat coronavirus, while 57 percent of independents also approved. Democratic voters were far less satisfied — only 41 percent approved of Trump’s handling of the crisis.
A Monmouth University poll released Monday also shows that the President is weathering the unprecedented pandemic with 50 percent support of Americans. Half of the respondents said the president has done a “good job” with his handling of the outbreak while 45 percent said he has done a “bad job.”
They also gave the media lower marks than Trump for their job performance. Only 45 percent of Americans said the media did a good job reporting on the outbreak while 43 percent were dissatisfied; another 10 percent had mixed views.
Media naysayers have been heaping criticism on the president’s daily press briefings on the epidemic, even urging networks to stop broadcasting them. They say the president is hampering efforts of the medical community and endangering lives with contradictory information.
Trump is facing the greatest and most unexpected challenge of his presidency. He has been forced make tough calls on key issues with lives at stake and the economy in turmoil.