By contrast, governors in states that generally followed President Trump’s lead (e.g., slow to close, early to open) have poor ratings. The pollsters found that of the 10 governors with approval ratings below 45 percent, “eight are Republicans in Republican-leaning states.” That includes Ron DeSantis of Florida and Brian Kemp of Georgia, who are both at 43 percent; even lower is Republican Kim Reynolds of Iowa at 37 percent. Republican Greg Abbott of Texas dropped from 60 percent to 44 percent.
It is noteworthy that the polling period ended on June 28, before the worst case numbers in states such as Arizona, Florida, Georgia and others came in.
As for Trump, the public is giving him a giant thumbs down. “The President began (at the outset of our series in late April) with a relatively low approval rating, below that of the governor in all 50 states, and has declined further — by 8 points on average,” pollsters report. His approval on handling of the virus is down among all groups, but especially among those older than 65 with a high school education or less (56 percent to 44 percent). In addition, they found “a somewhat greater decline of 10-12 points among lower income (50k of income or less) and less-educated (some college or less) white respondents, as well as a precipitous drop from 40% to 26% among white respondents ages 18-24.”
Even worse for Trump: The decline in approval of his handling of the coronavirus seems to have driven down his head-to-head numbers against former vice president Joe Biden. He went from a deficit of five points to a deficit of 10 points (47 percent to 37 percent). Trump’s approval ratings for handling of the virus is very low in some swing states, including Florida (40 percent), Arizona (34), Georgia (42), Michigan (26), North Carolina (35) and Wisconsin (30).
Trump can say what he likes; his sycophantic governors can parrot his misleading and irresponsible utterances. But the facts matter. He is not going to convince voters feeling the horrible effects of his malfeasance that he is doing a great job. Republican governors who followed Trump and not health experts pay a political price for their irresponsibility. The preventable deaths, economic distress, educational hardship and emotional stress remain a tragedy, in large part because it did not have to be this way. The polling, nevertheless, suggests that there may be a reckoning at the ballot box in November. That’s precisely how a democracy should function.