A majority of Americans now disapprove of President Trump’s handling of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll.
52 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s response to the pandemic, while 47 percent approve, according to the poll, which was conducted April 1-2 and had a 4.8 point margin of error. The same poll taken on March 18-19 reported 55 percent approval of Trump’s response versus 43 percent disapproval.
Other polls taken in mid-March showed a similar boost for Trump, after the president declared a state of emergency in the midst of a nose-diving stock market and rising coronavirus cases in the U.S. Trump has since invoked the Defense Production Act to compel General Motors and other companies to produce medical supplies needed by medical workers to fight the outbreak.
Trump had expressed hope that his administration would be able to relax social distancing guidelines by Easter (April 12), which would allow millions of Americans to return to work. However, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predictions that 100,000-200,000 Americans could die over the next several weeks even in a “best-case scenario” in which people follow social distancing guidelines, the president backtracked and extended the guidelines to the end of April.
The ABC News/Ipsos poll taken on March 11-12, before Trump declared a national emergency, reported that 54 percent of respondents disapproved of the president’s response to the pandemic while 43 percent approved. At the time, Trump drew criticism from congressional Republicans and administration officials over his public statements downplaying the threat posed by the coronavirus.