If President Donald Trump was hoping to use his handling of the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak as some kind of boon for his re-election campaign — he and his allies might want to rethink that strategy. A new Hill/Harris X poll reveals that an overall majority of voters actively disapproves of Trump’s handling of the Coronavirus situation, and among groups like independents and Democrats, the portion of disapproving respondents shoots up even further. Overall, just 47 percent of respondents approved of Trump’s Coronavirus response compared to a full 53 percent who disapproved — not exactly a winning coalition.
Meanwhile, a full 58 percent of independents disapprove of his handling of the situation, according to the poll, while 82 percent of Republican respondents approved — which still leaves a substantial portion unaccounted for by approval, even among Republicans — and a full 79 percent of Democrats disapprove of Trump’s Coronavirus response. Overall, there was one temporary bright spot in that 58 percent of registered voters said they approved of Trump’s handling of the economy, while only 42 percent said they disapproved — but the poll was taken before some of the latest developments.
The situation itself has been rapidly escalating, as have the challenges facing the U.S. president left in some kind of leadership role. Just this week, the stock market fell so sharply that trading had to be paused — twice, on two separate days. On Thursday alone, the Dow Jones plummeted in value by just about ten percent overall as industries like travel reeled from developments like Trump’s haphazardly produced travel ban targeting a slew of countries across Europe, which won’t, of course, stop the virus from spreading within the U.S., although it surely will help enact economic chaos.
Samuel Hammond, Director of Poverty and Welfare Policy at The Niskanen Center, commented:
‘Essentially the market is telling us that we’re in for a global recession. That recession isn’t something that is easily corrected by spending more money or by having better monetary policy. The recession isn’t just about fall and demand, it’s about supply chains around the world grinding to a halt. It’s about hospitals being overrun, it’s about schools being closed, it’s about events being cancelled, and this makes it a unique challenge.’
The pace of cancellations increased dramatically this week, under pressure from public health authorities for the employment of the tactic in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus. Events across professional sports have been mostly indefinitely postponed, and bans on large gatherings outside that context have led to stark developments like the abrupt closure of Broadway play productions in New York City. All of these cancellations have grave consequences for those whose livelihoods depend in some form on the events moving forward. In that light, House Democrats unveiled a plan this week for a $1 billion boost to state unemployment insurance programs — which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) denounced as part of a supposed “ideological wish list.”
These issues are in addition to glaringly chaotic ground-level problems like a failure in the adequate distribution of tests for the virus within the U.S.