ChrisWeigant.com

Governors Get High Marks From Public, Not Trump

[ Posted Tuesday, May 12th, 2020 – 17:04 UTC ]

New polls just out show that President Donald Trump is badly losing the battle to control the narrative over his response to the coronavirus pandemic. While Trump's public job approval rating is exactly where it has been for pretty much his entire term (43 percent approval), almost all of the state governors are doing much, much better. And the American public overwhelmingly -- by a 3-to-1 margin -- wants to see the economy reopen slower, not faster. All of this has led to Trump petulantly tweeting that he deserves all the credit, instead of the governors. This is pretty pathetic after Trump shoved all responsibility for the pandemic response onto those very same governors. But because he did so, the governors are now reaping all of the praise and thanks from the public, not Trump.

Except for a few, that is. The governors who reopened their states fastest, after being strenuously urged to do so by Trump, are the only ones who have approval numbers as bad as (or worse than) Trump's. In general, Democratic governors are doing better in public approval than Republicans, but the few Republican governors who were just as stringent as their Democratic counterparts in instituting proper restrictions were also graded phenomenally well by the public. Here are just a few of the raw numbers, which show how dramatically better most governors are now seen by the public than the president:

In Ohio, 86 percent of adults say they approve of the way Gov. Mike DeWine (R), who moved aggressively to close down his state and has been cautious about lifting the restrictions, has dealt with the crisis. In Georgia, 39 percent of adults approve of the performance of Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who moved less swiftly than some other governors to mitigate the spread and has been in the forefront of reopening the economy there.

Overall, 71 percent of Americans approve of their governors' performances, with majority approval from people in both major parties. A much smaller 43 percent approve of Trump's efforts.

. . .

In the two largest states with Democratic governors, Gov. Gavin Newsom (Calif.) and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (N.Y.) receive positive marks from about 8 in 10 adults. Those lofty positive ratings dip significantly in the two largest states with Republican governors. In Florida, 60 percent of adults give Gov. Ron DeSantis positive ratings, while in Texas, 57 percent say they approve of the way Gov. Greg Abbott has handled the pandemic.

. . .

Ohio's DeWine has succeeded more than any large-state governor in attracting broad, bipartisan support. He wins 84 percent approval among his fellow Republicans, along with 90 percent approval among Democrats. That is a dramatic contrast with the president, whose handling of the crisis is approved by 89 percent of Ohio Republicans but only 12 percent of Ohio Democrats.

The range across these states is notable given that the survey simply asked people whether they approved of "your state's governor." The respondents were not prompted with either the name of the governor or the governor's political party.

. . .

Abbott, DeSantis and Kemp face blowback for reopening their states on a faster schedule. Nationally, 56 percent of Americans say their state government has handled restrictions on businesses "about right," with 28 percent saying restrictions have been lifted "too quickly" and 16 percent saying they have not been lifted quickly enough. But nearly half of Floridians (48 percent) and majorities in both Texas (59 percent) and Georgia (65 percent) say their state government is "lifting restrictions too quickly."

. . .

As a group, governors appear to have steered through those divisions and won substantial approval among those from their rival party. In states led by Democratic governors, 75 percent approve of their handling of the outbreak, including 91 percent of Democratic-leaning residents, as well as 54 percent of those who lean Republican. In Republican-led states, 67 percent of people give positive ratings to governors, including 80 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats.

To sum up: Democratic governors are doing better than Republican governors in the polls. Republicans who (like Democrats) have been very cautious get higher marks from the public than those GOP governors who are rushing to reopen. And virtually all governors get far better marks than Trump does.

Trump has only himself to blame for this situation, of course. His "The buck stops anywhere but here" attitude towards taking absolutely no responsibility for just about every aspect of the crisis -- shoving everything off onto the governors -- has meant that when people start to feel better about the future, they're giving their own governors pretty much all of the credit, with none left over to spare for Trump. This, of course, annoys Trump no end. How do I know this? Because now he's been reduced to begging for some of the positive feelings the governors are now getting. He just tweeted:

Remember this, every Governor who has sky high approval on their handling of the Coronavirus, and I am happy for them all, could in no way have gotten those numbers, or had that success, without me and the Federal Governments [sic] help. From Ventilators to Testing, we made it happen!

Trump isn't "happy for them all," instead he is quite obviously insanely jealous of their phenomenal approval ratings. But you know what? That's what happens when you avoid all responsibility -- in the end, if things go well, you don't get the credit.

Trump has also thrown his lot in with the yahoos protesting in state capitals, which also has blown back on him. No matter how many times he stands up and lies about it, the public overwhelmingly is prioritizing safety over speed in reopening plans. First, the main finding:

A 74 percent majority of Americans overall say the United States should keep trying to slow the spread of the coronavirus even if it means keeping many businesses closed, while 25 percent say the country should open up businesses and get the economy going again, even if the result would be more infections.

Perhaps surprisingly, this support gets even stronger among those most affected by the economic shutdown:

The poll shows that while 74 percent of all people prefer that more cautious approach, the number is actually slightly higher among people who have been laid off or furloughed since the outbreak began. Fully 79 percent of them say they would prefer an approach focused more on aggressive mitigation, even if it means more economic hardship.

This isn't the only poll to show similar results, either. From a recent CNN poll:

[T]he federal government getting rotten marks on the pandemic (44 percent approve, 54 percent disapprove) and "most say the government is not doing enough to address the growing death toll (56%), the limited availability of testing (57%) or the potential for a second wave of cases later this year (58%)." Trump personally is doing worse with each passing month. "(55% now disapprove, up from 48% in early March and 52% last month), and only 36% say they consider Trump a trusted source of information about the outbreak."

That's what you get when you took two months to even realize the risk was real, then spent the next two months lying to the public and blaming everyone else for the ongoing failures, and finally suggested injecting bleach might be a good idea worthy of study. Trump's grand plan was to walk away from the problem, let the governors fight it out in the marketplace for everything they desperately needed, and then swoop in at the end to claim any available credit if things went well. If things didn't go so well, then Trump would be perfectly insulated and could just blame individual governors. This plan has now spectacularly failed, obviously.

Things could have been very different, of course. If Trump had reacted differently and actually showed the slightest leadership during the crisis, then right now his own approval ratings would almost certainly be north of 60 percent. Americans like seeing strong leadership in a crisis, even if everything doesn't turn out perfectly. They also like seeing a president who seems to empathize with what they're going through when times get rough. If Trump had shown even a modest amount of either, he could right now be skating to re-election, instead of being 28 points behind in approval ratings from the average governor.

Indeed, Trump seems on the brink of having the current attitude towards the pandemic response "baked into the cake" with the American public. He's lost the battle for the narrative, which could very well mean that it will be impossible to ever change anyone's mind about his response effort. If attitudes have already hardened on the subject, then it won't matter how much happy talk Trump spews over the next few months, people will remember what they're feeling now.

We are less than six months away from the election. Donald Trump has lost all control over setting each day's media narrative. He's not winning too many news cycles these days -- or even just dominating them with a provocative tweet or two. Instead, the public is focused on what is much more important. And in this regard, they're giving Trump negative marks while they are supporting their own governors. They don't trust Trump, and they think he's bungled his response. Of course, there still is enough time before the election for some other crisis to arise which would put the coronavirus in the background, but this isn't very likely to happen. This election is almost certainly going to be a referendum on Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic crisis. Which is very bad news indeed for Donald Trump.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

41 Comments on “Governors Get High Marks From Public, Not Trump”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris, from time to time I have been known to comment and interact on NYTimes opinion pieces that get my attention.

    Today I came across a comment that gave me some reassurance of the outcome of the presidential election.

    This commenter listed two reasons that made him hopeful about Trump's political demise.

    First, he said that Trump's popularity/job approval/support has been consistently at 45% +/- 3% and that on a good day, he loses by 4%; on a better day he loses by 16%.

    Secondly, he made the infinitely important point that Hillary Clinton is no Joe Biden. Of the 20% of voters in 2016 who disliked Trump AND Hillary, most broke for Trump. This year, that 20% break even more decidedly for Biden.

    That makes perfect sense to me. What say you?

  2. [2] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    "Donald Trump has lost all control over setting each day's media narrative."

    C'mon. The Obama smears have not even begun.

    BTW - China! is trying to kill Americans.

  3. [3] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    You know, it just really is no wonder that an old man beat up Rant Paul.

  4. [4] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    LizM [1]

    Those appear to be national polling stats and we do not have a national presidential election. Our Tangerine Nightmare should have taught you not to feel reassured by them. Biden's not been relentlessly demonized for 20 years like HilRod (and he's not a woman), but he's not the cat's pajamas either. If he wants to win, he'd better make this about the hideousness of Nazi Drumpf.

  5. [5] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    ...or as dan suggests, have the proxies and superpacs rail about how awful donald is, while smiling and looking presidential.

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Right now, I'm looking for reassurances anywhere I can find them. :(

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    but he's not the cat's pajamas either.

    Well, in my book, he is. :)

  8. [8] 
    nypoet22 wrote:
  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Yes, pieces like these need to be published regularly.

    And, Biden should consider responding to Trump's tweets as required as one way to show off the Biden leadership style and ability to put out persuasive arguments that might even change a few minds in Trump's twitterverse. Stranger things have already happened.

  10. [10] 
    dsws wrote:

    I think Biden needs an effective strategy for the Tara Reade allegation, and the hair-sniffing weirdness. Denying it and then just expecting it to go away doesn't seem likely to be effective.

    First, he needs to articulate a standard of how to deal with such things, that's acceptable even to people like me. Or rather, he needs to reaffirm and expand on the one he stated in the case of Christine Blasey Ford: always start from the presumption that an accuser is telling the truth about the essence of the allegation, even if details change, even if major parts are left out the first time she makes the accusation. Then explain something about how to take it seriously, going from there. A presumption isn't really defined, in any operational sense, until you've specified how it can be overcome, according to the relevant standards of proof. But he also needs to avoid alienating the people who absolutely don't care if it's true, and really don't want it ever to be taken seriously at all. It's a tough needle to thread.

    But, done properly, it builds on something he did right. He didn't say "believe all women, and that's that", when many people on our side of the aisle were speaking carelessly in such proclamations. He said "you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real", and presumptions are made to be refuted. The latter part is me saying it, not him. But it's true. That's the whole point of them, and it's implicit in what he said when the shoe was on the other foot. He just needs to take that implication seriously now.

    And I do mean now. It needs to be put to rest before the general electorate starts paying attention, with a lot of time to spare. He probably shouldn't do most of this in person, but he should do it. Whoever says it should be a recognizable proxy, someone in the campaign or someone with a long history of close association with him personally.

    Then, for several weeks after that's over with, someone needs to generate news hooks about the sexual assault and rape cases that Trump has bragged about. Effective enough that people hear about them who don't normally follow political news. Numerous enough that people get tired of hearing of them. And soon enough that they're over and done with before the general electorate starts paying attention to the campaign.

  11. [11] 
    dsws wrote:

    Link for the quote:
    https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/407142-biden-presume-the-essence-of-sexual-assault-accusations-are-real

    I think the hair-sniffing weirdness is what makes the Tara Reade story dangerous. Tara Reade is not a "perfect victim". Dismissing her accusation would be automatic, for the general electorate, if not for other stories of Biden putting his hands where they shouldn't have been.

    I don't know if there is a satisfactory solution. Prima facie, it's not a needle that can be threaded. He has to be tolerable to people like me, while also being tolerable to people who consider it axiomatic that a man has an absolute entitlement to put his hands anywhere that doesn't threaten to undermine another man's confidence that his children are biologically his, and that those limits have to be defined by authoritarian social norms, not by the woman's consent.

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    But, he didn't rape anybody and he didn't smell anyone's hair. And, that's the end of that, as far as I'm concerned. And, I'm the only one around here who can make that definitive statement, I fully realize. But, still ...

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Frankly, I don't give a shit about people like you, excuse my French.

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    if not for other stories of Biden putting his hands where they shouldn't have been.

    But, I'm not going to let you get away with that.

    Where did he put his hands?

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Oh, and about that quote from the Hill, it isn't the full quote. But, that doesn't surprise me that you left it out.

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    This is what happens when you push my buttons on Biden. In future, be forewarned.

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Only Michale can get away scot free with that sort of behavior, you know.

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Scroll down to the video interview.

  20. [20] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Why is this election only a referendum about how Trump handled the corona virus?

    Why isn't a referendum about how both parties have handled the corona virus and how the false choice offered by the two parties every election cycle that put Trump in office and has left us vulnerable in so many other ways?

    It's way past time to stop presenting the false choice that only deals with the symptoms of the preexisting condition that left unable to properly addre3ss this pandemic- big money controlling our political process.

    It's time to address the cause and place the blame where it truly belongs- BOTH the big money Dems and Republicans.

    Shame on you for ignoring reality and repeating the lies that have led to so many deaths that did not need to happen.

    Wake up. Wise up. Rise up.
    Get Real.

    You may not be the one pulling the trigger, but articles like this show you are clearly feeding the ammunition into the gatling gun.

  21. [21] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Biden is the cat's pajamas.

    Except the cat removed the pajamas and left them in the big money litter box with the Republicans.

    This cat is not interested in putting on those pajamas just because they may be covered with less shit than the pajamas offered by the Republicans.

    We need pajamas that pass the smell test as smelling fresh and clean- not just less odorous than the foul smell eminating from the false opposition.

    And we will not get what we need as long as citizens are conditioned to take a knee when the bell rings to start the round instead of recognizing that it is a signal to start fighting.

    "No one told you when to run.
    You missed the starting gun."
    -Pink Floyd

  22. [22] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    This past November, we elected a new governor here in KY. I was not a fan of Andy Beshear, but Matt Bevin was as awful as the Orange Imbecile that he aped, so I held my nose and voted for him. He has been really great during the pandemic and I'm glad we have him. Google "govern me daddy".

  23. [23] 
    dsws wrote:

    Frankly, I don't give a shit about people like you

    So what? Is there anyone on the planet who cares what you do or don't give a shit about? I'm talking about what Biden needs to do in order to win the general election. You probably should give a shit about that.

    Elections are determined mostly by who decides to vote. I have a friend in a swing state, whom I talk with online, who flat-out believes Tara Reade. She currently intends to leave the top line of her ballot blank, and to put all her actual efforts (donations, yard sign, whatever) into the Senate races. What I say to her, or don't say, is one of the factors influencing whether she decides to vote for Joe Biden or not. That kind of interaction is happening among millions of people. Not many millions, out of the hundreds of millions of people in the country, but it only takes a few tens of thousands of swing-state votes to turn the election.

  24. [24] 
    dsws wrote:

    Oh, and about that quote from the Hill, it isn't the full quote. But, that doesn't surprise me that you left it out.

    I quoted the relevant part, and linked the source I got it from. I don't think that my selection distorted the meaning at all.

  25. [25] 
    dsws wrote:

    Where did he put his hands?

    On Lucy Flores's shoulders, in what she described as "an intimate way reserved for close friends, family, or romantic partners". On Amy Coll's shoulders "for a beat too long". On Sofie Karasek's hands when she didn't want them there. On Amy Stokes Lappos, who said he "put his hands behind my head and pulled me close and I thought, 'he's going to kiss me.'" On Caitlyn Caruso's thigh. Down D J Hill's back. On the back of Vail Kohnert-Yount's head, as he allegedly pressed his forehead to hers.

  26. [26] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @dan,

    even if your friend were right and tara reade were 100% accurate in all her accounts, is another four years of donald trump's presidency really the outcome she'd like to see? that's certainly showin' em.

    JL

  27. [27] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Dan,

    Those people are just being ridiculous.

    I have seen Biden put his hands on peoples' shoulders and head and back - but only ever to show empathy or to give encouragement.

    The people you cite are up to something else. And, if you can't see that, then I guess I'll have to put you on the shelf next to Michale. Go ahead, now, try to push my buttons.

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I quoted the relevant part, and linked the source I got it from. I don't think that my selection distorted the meaning at all.

    Biden has commented also on the need for investigations to find the truth of any given matter. Leaving this part out not only distorts the meaning but imparts whole new meaning.

  29. [29] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    So what? Is there anyone on the planet who cares what you do or don't give a shit about?

    Probably not.

  30. [30] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    On Lucy Flores's shoulders, in what she described as "an intimate way reserved for close friends, family, or romantic partners". On Amy Coll's shoulders "for a beat too long". On Sofie Karasek's hands when she didn't want them there. On Amy Stokes Lappos, who said he "put his hands behind my head and pulled me close and I thought, 'he's going to kiss me.'" On Caitlyn Caruso's thigh. Down D J Hill's back. On the back of Vail Kohnert-Yount's head, as he allegedly pressed his forehead to hers.

    I have a real problem trusting people who claim to be supporters or even “friends” with Joe Biden who went to the press to complain about his actions without going to him first.

    Most, if not all, of the above women claimed that they did not think Biden’s actions were sexually motivated — they were just uncomfortable by his touching them.. More than one said that Biden was attempting to comfort them after they had experienced a hardship. If you don’t believe that his actions were sexually motivated, why in the world would you think talking to the media is the best way to let Biden know that he had made you feel uncomfortable?!?

    Biden is a “hugger” — a man who emphasizes with what others are feeling and who wants them to know that they aren’t alone. He’s comfortable with a level of physical contact with those he is close to that others might find too bad intimate. Reade is the only person who has claimed that Biden touching her constituted sexual assault and that he had done so intentionally. After close to 4 decades of public service and being in the public eye and this is the sole woman to make such a claim??? One thing that men in positions of power who cheat on their partners all have in common is that it is never just one time that they cheat.

    As for your friend who believes Reade, does she know of any person who has been sexually assaulted — and who has come to recognize that they were assaulted — who then spoke highly of their attacker? Reade’s neighbor said that Reade claimed years ago how Biden had penetrated her with his fingers, so Reade was not in denial of what she had experienced. Then both the neighbor and Reade have supported Biden in past elections??? I cannot fathom ever voting for someone that I believe sexually assaulted a good friend...much less voting for someone who sexually assaulted me!

    These are the reasons to believe Biden over Reade. Neither Biden’s past actions nor Reade’s past actions support her claim that Biden sexually assaulted her.

  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Nicely put, Russ.

    Especially when you talk about Biden's actions coming from a place of trying to comfort and encourage and not from a sexual place.

    This is key.

  32. [32] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    dsws

    Prima facie, it's not a needle that can be threaded. He has to be tolerable to people like me, while also being tolerable to people who consider it axiomatic that a man has an absolute entitlement to put his hands anywhere that doesn't threaten to undermine another man's confidence that his children are biologically his, and that those limits have to be defined by authoritarian social norms, not by the woman's consent.

    WTF? Why would he want to be, much less NEED to be, tolerable to ”people who consider it axiomatic that a man has an absolute entitlement to put his hands anywhere that doesn't threaten to undermine another man's confidence that his children are biologically his, and that those limits have to be defined by authoritarian social norms, not by the woman's consent?”. Talk about going to extremes! Do you hear the phrase “drama queen” used often when people are describing you?

    And why should Biden jump thru hoops for you to find him “tolerable”? I’d rather have a candidate standing by his beliefs, convictions, and actions than have someone willing to do or say whatever it takes to get elected! You don’t care for Biden being the Democrat’s nominee, that’s been clear from day one. This story is already on the way out. If you cannot see it for the GOP’s disinformation trap that it was, then clean your glasses.

  33. [33] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Kick!

    Where are you hiding? Just making sure that everything is well with you and yours! Miss ya!

    Russ

  34. [34] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Liz [31]

    Nicely put, Russ.

    I appreciate that, Liz. But that said, you have got to stop taking any comment that isn’t pro-Joe as a personal insult.... it is not going to win over undecided voters who have yet to discover for themselves all of the great things about Biden. Seriously, I half expect you to challenge someone to “step outside” for insulting your man. That isn’t the best way to change someone’s opinion...although it does work occasionally, but that’s a rare thing.

    So relax, Killer...we have a long road to take before we reach Election Day...pace yourself!

  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Okay.

  36. [36] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Oh, and Kick is alright … she's just still commenting on old threads. :)

  37. [37] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    13

    Frankly, I don't give a shit about people like you, excuse my French.

    Ce n'est pas français.

  38. [38] 
    Kick wrote:

    ^^^ C'est toujours "Faites ce que je dis mais pas comme je le fais" avec celui-là.

    That's French. :)

  39. [39] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    20

    Wake up. Wise up. Rise up.
    Get Real.

    Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.
    Get lost.

  40. [40] 
    Kick wrote:

    Russ
    33

    Where are you hiding? Just making sure that everything is well with you and yours! Miss ya!

    I'm here. Been playing catch-up for days. Almost there too.

    XOXOXOXO

  41. [41] 
    Kick wrote:

    Russ
    34

    Heh.

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