Approval of Trump's and Northam's handling of COVID-19 has fallen since April
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 30, 2020
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Farrah Stone, Ph.D.
President Donald Trump and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam saw approval ratings for their handling of the COVID-19 crisis drop since April, according to a new statewide poll conducted by the Center for Public Policy at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Trump had a decrease in approval of 7 percentage points, creating a majority of 55% disapproving somewhat or strongly of how he is handling the response. While Northam had a decrease of 15 percentage points, a majority of Virginians (61%) still approve strongly or somewhat of how he’s handling the response to COVID-19.
The poll also provides additional insight into Virginians’ opinions on mask wearing, racial equity, confederate monuments and a snapshot of the 2020 presidential election in Virginia.
“Not surprisingly, Virginians are concerned about the economy,” said former governor L. Douglas Wilder. “They now recognize the pandemic to be more important than before (the previous poll).”
“The decrease in Trump and Northam’s positive handling of the pandemic is indicative of the increase in concerns related to the pandemic,” Wilder said.
“The poll also reflects growing concerns about racism in any measure: systemic, the removal of statues, and/or police reform,” he said. “What we have is one thing (racism); what we do about it is another.”
Among the poll’s key findings:
- Six-in-ten Virginians (60%) believe wearing masks is helping a lot in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Another 21% said wearing masks helps a little. Only 18% said the practice does not help much or at all.
- Joe Biden leads Trump by 11 percentage points among likely voters in Virginia. When likely voters were asked how they would vote if the election were held today, 50% said Biden, while 39% said Trump.
- The economy is the most important issue to likely voters in the presidential election, followed by health care and COVID-19. Eighty-two percent of likely voters said the economy was one of the most or very important issues in the upcoming election. Seventy percent said the same of health care; and 66% said the same of the coronavirus outbreak.
- Systemic racism, police reform and immigration were still important to likely voters with over half saying all three were one of the most or a very important issue in their vote. Women, minorities and Democrats were more likely to say these three issues were more important to their vote.
- Virginians’ support has shifted away from leaving confederate monuments where they are to relocating them to museums. A plurality of Virginians (38%) think that the remaining confederate monuments should be moved to museums, an increase of 15 percentage points from December 2017.
- Virginians’ views on racial equity is significant to vote choice and opinion about confederate monuments. Respondents were asked whether they thought Blacks in the U.S. are treated as fairly as whites or whether changes need to be made for fair treatment. Almost 6-in-10 Virginians (59%) said changes need to be made for fair treatment to occur.
The poll, a telephone survey of 838 adults living in Virginia was conducted between July 11-19. It has an estimated margin of error of ±5.19 percentage points for all adults sampled, and ±6.40 percentage points for likely voters. The entire report with detailed analysis tables and graphics can be found at https://oppo.vcu.edu/policy-poll/.
ABOUT THE WILDER SCHOOL AND THE CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY
The L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, named for the nation’s first African-American elected governor, is a top-50 nationally ranked public affairs school. Located blocks from the state Capitol in Richmond, Virginia, the school enrolls about 1,000 undergraduates and 400 graduate students in eight academic programs. The Wilder School’s 10,000-plus alumni work across the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Drawing on the wide-ranging expertise of Wilder School faculty, the Center for Public Policy's programs provide diverse public-facing services including leadership development and training, economic and policy impact analysis, survey insights and program evaluation to clients in state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses and the general public, across Virginia and beyond. For more, please visit https://wilder.vcu.edu/center-for-public-policy/.