While American manufacturers are trying to help out, whatever materials they produce for health-care workers likely will be too little and too late. In light of all this, it’s no surprise that the Trump bump may well have dissipated.
The latest ABC/Ipsos poll shows Americans understand this crisis is not going to be over soon. Rather, “just over nine in 10 Americans now say that the outbreak has disrupted their daily routine. … Among those saying this, 44% said they think they will be able to resume their regular routine by June 1, including 13% who said by May 1, while a combined 84% believe that will happen by the end of the summer.” Moreover, “89% of Americans now saying they are concerned that they or someone they know will be infected with the virus, compared to 79% in a poll conducted from March 18-19 and 66% in a poll in the field from March 11-12.”
The perception of Trump’s performance has changed dramatically. “Trump’s approval for his management of the coronavirus is now under-water, 47-52%. Approval is down from 55% in the poll released on March 20, and closer to where it was in the March 13 poll, when it was 43%.”
Trump’s approval may well decline even further as he weirdly seeks to avoid taking decisive action.
He announces the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that Americans wear masks in public, but declares he will not wear one.
He insists the national stockpile is a backup, effectively demanding states fight among themselves for scarce supplies and thereby bid up the price.
He shamelessly tries to blame the Obama administration for the testing debacle, though he has been president for over three years; he dissolved the National Security Council position on pandemics; and he disregarded his own experts’ warnings, thereby losing weeks to prepare for the virus’s onslaught.
The ABC-Ipsos poll might be an outlier. But one other survey, albeit a online poll rather than a more rigorous traditional poll, suggests Trump is increasingly viewed negatively, even by a large segment of Republicans. Global Strategy Group’s Navigator poll found that “40% of 2016 Trump voters say the president did not take coronavirus seriously enough early in the crisis, up 17 points since early last week.” Americans overall — and 66 percent of independents specifically — say Trump did not take the threat of covid-19 seriously enough early on, up 10 points from the preceding week.
Noticeably, “the majority of white non-college Americans, a usually supportive group, say they are seriously concerned that Trump downplayed the threat of coronavirus early on.” Trump’s personal qualities are shining through — and that is bad news for him. “While 61% say Trump is unprepared, 52% say he is ‘chaotic’ and ‘erratic,’ and 51% say he is ‘irresponsible.’ ”
We are not even at the end of the beginning of the crisis. Trump’s actions going forward will matter. However, his slow start and continued erratic presence may very well haunt him, causing all but his core base to throw up their hands in horror and disgust. Facts matter. And right now, the facts are grim.