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Poll: Governors get better marks for handling of virus crisis than Trump

(CN) — While President Donald Trump’s disapproval numbers rise over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the economy, a new poll finds most Americans believe that their own states’ governors have responded better to the pandemic.

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Wednesday reveals 64% of Americans believe their governors have handled the coronavirus outbreak better the commander-in-chief. Just 32% believe that the president has done the better job.

Partisanship continues to play a significant role in this divide. An overwhelming 86% of Democrats say they favor their governor’s performance over Trump’s performance, while far fewer Republicans (25%) say the same.

Independents, meanwhile, seem to have broken away from Trump on the issue. Seventy percent say their governor has done better than the president at handling the Covid-19 outbreak.

While support for their governor’s response to the outbreak runs across most demographic groups, the one that is split on the matter is white men without a college education. Fifty percent of them say their governor is doing the better job while 49% say the same for the president.

These more positive views toward governors also goes to how they have handled their state economies during the crisis. The poll shows that 54% of Americans say that their governors are doing a better job at managing the economy compared to the president, though party affiliation again plays a significant role in this.

A majority of Democrats and independents believe their governors are managing the economy better than Trump, with 78% and 59%, respectively, voicing this opinion.

Republicans, meanwhile, are much more supportive of the leader of their party on this front, with 84% believing Trump is better at managing the economy than their governor.

The poll comes as leaders at the federal, state and local level continue to work out how to best manage community health guidelines and the reopening effort. With some governors looking to carry out plans that would reopen parts of their states in controlled phases, such as California Governor Gavin Newsom and Montana Governor Steve Bullock, other state leaders have largely resisted reopening calls thus far and have yet to make formal reopening announcements.

Polling data shows that most Americans continue to largely oppose lifting most social distancing and other coronavirus-related restrictions. A vast majority (91%) of Americans say they think it would be a bad idea to let people attending sporting events without some form of further testing, while 85% say schools should remain closed and 80% say restaurants should not allow customers to dine-in at this time.

A slightly less but still commanding 65% say that it would be a bad idea for people to return to their normal work without more testing.

The numbers come in as at least half of all Americans, not counting who are not employed or retired, say someone in their household has either lost their job or seen reduced hours as a result of the pandemic.

Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, said several factors are contributing to American’s feelings on these issues — and that the gravity of the moment is critical.

“The stakes couldn’t be higher,” Miringoff said with the release of the poll. “For the nation, it all boils down to timing. Americans are reacting to when Covid-19 appeared on the national agenda, when they think the country should reopen, and what the economy and Covid-19 will be like come November.”

As these questions continue to be debated amongst Americans, Trump has seen negative movement for his approval ratings during the crisis largely over his handling of the virus outbreak. Wednesday’s poll shows that 55% of Americans now disapprove of how Trump is handling Covid-19, a six-point spike in the president’s disapproval figure compared to a similar NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll in March.

Trump’s approval rating on the economy remains largely split. Exactly half of Americans approve of Trump’s job regarding the economy, while 48% disapprove.

Regarding how the Covid-19 outbreak will influence the presidential election, the poll suggests Trump may have an uphill climb in November. Just over half (55%) of Americans say former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, would be better at managing the crisis. Another 51% say Biden would also do better at managing the economy.

Wednesday’s poll of 1,008 adults has a 3.7% margin of error.