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 help. From Ventilators to Testing, we made it happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2020
“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 help,” Trump wrote. “From Ventilators to Testing, we made it happen!”
What Trump did not seem to internalize, though, are the important differences between those governors, or one other important finding from the poll. Both of those undercut Trump’s arguments about needing — and the American people wanting — a more aggressive approach to reopening the economy.
As The Post’s Scott Clement and Dan Balz reported in their story on the poll, one of the key differences between the governors is in how aggressively they have been in pushing to reopen their states. While the average approval rating for governors is 71 percent, it goes as high as 86 percent for Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), and it’s significantly lower in a trio of big states in which GOP governors have been slower on stay-at-home orders and more aggressive on reopening: Florida, Georgia and Texas.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is at 60 percent, while Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is at 57 percent. Those aren’t exactly bad numbers, but the gap between them and other governors is instructive.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is perhaps the most instructive. His efforts to reopen have arguably been the most controversial — eventually earning a begrudging rebuke from Trump — and he’s at just 39 percent.
The reason those governors’ approval ratings are lower than those of their counterparts is because they have not been able to wrangle the kind of bipartisan support that other governors have. Aggressive reopening measures appear to have cost them, given that polls show the vast majority of Americans prefer a more continued, aggressive approach to mitigation and a less aggressive approach to reopening.
The Post poll reinforces this. It shows that 74 percent of all Americans prefer to “keep trying to slow the spread of the coronavirus, even if that means keeping many businesses closed,” while just 25 percent prefer to “open up businesses and get the economy going again, even if that means more people would get the coronavirus.”
And in that finding is another key lesson for Trump that he does not seem to want to hear.
Trump has been arguing for many weeks that Americans want to reopen the country. He has even conceded that doing so could mean more people will be “affected badly” by the virus.
“They want to get back to work,” Trump said Friday. “These people want to get back to work.”
The Post-Ipsos poll shows, though, that a very notable group strongly prefers a more cautious approach to getting back to work — in perhaps surprising numbers: people who have actually lost work.
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.
That’s a remarkable number — and it’s one that suggests these people are taking a longer-term approach to getting back to work than Trump does. It seems they believe the best way to actually get back to work and stay there is to no longer have to deal with the outbreak, which makes complete logical sense. Perhaps they also fear that going back to work could mean their own exposure to the virus, given that many of them come from service industries.
It’s not the message Trump is sending about his preferred approach. But it’s perhaps one he should be thinking about.