Approval of President Donald Trump’s handling of the Coronavirus outbreak is declining sharply among older Americans, according to Morning Consult polling. Older Americans have frequently proven crucial for Trump’s political coalition, suggesting an especially negative impact on Trump’s political chances heading into the general election later this year. In mid-March, approval of Trump’s Coronavirus response led disapproval by a margin of 19 percent among Americans who are 65 and older. Now, disapproval leads by a margin of one percent, and only Americans from the ages of 18 through 29 disapprove of Trump at a higher rate.
Morning Consult reports:
‘By a nearly 6-to-1 margin, people ages 65 and older say it’s more important for the government to address the spread of coronavirus than it is to focus on economic goals. And as President Donald Trump increasingly signals interest in prioritizing the economy, America’s senior citizens are growing critical of his approach. In mid-March, this group approved of Trump’s handling of the outbreak at a higher rate than any other age group, with a net approval of +19. A month later, that level of support has dropped 20 points and is now lower than that of any age group other than 18-29-year-olds.’
According to RealClearPolitics, Americans overall disapprove of Trump’s Coronavirus handling more than they approve, on average. Cataloged polling has an average of 50.7 percent of respondents disapproving of Trump’s Coronavirus response and just 47 percent approving of it. After a shift the other direction in March, disapproval has led approval among Americans at large for most of April so far.
The numbers track roughly with overall approval of Trump’s overall job performance, which has ticked up amidst the crisis but been trending back down — RealClearPolitics reports that an average of 46 percent of respondents say they approve of Trump’s job performance overall, while 50.9 percent of respondents say that they disapprove.
Amidst the crisis, Trump hasn’t just been prioritizing economic concerns; he’s been prioritizing his public image with an apparent eye towards the incoming general election. He’s tweeted obsessively about the television ratings of his Coronavirus press conferences, as if those ratings are anywhere near the top of the priority list for anyone but him and his most loyal sycophants.
Just this Tuesday, he tweeted:
‘I’ve had great “ratings” my whole life, there’s nothing unusual about that for me. The White House News Conference ratings are “through the roof”(Monday Night Football, Bachelor Finale , @nytimes ) but I don’t care about that. I care about going around the Fake News to the PEOPLE!’
I’ve had great “ratings” my whole life, there’s nothing unusual about that for me. The White House News Conference ratings are “through the roof”(Monday Night Football, Bachelor Finale , @nytimes) but I don’t care about that. I care about going around the Fake News to the PEOPLE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2020
As activist Fred Guttenberg put it in response:
‘Regarding ratings, tell that to families who are losing loved ones that are dying alone and can’t have proper funerals. Why? Because you were so concerned about ratings you put your narcissistic need for ratings over prevention and now you are responsible. Enjoy your ratings!!!’
Regarding ratings, tell that to families who are losing loved ones that are dying alone and can't have proper funerals. Why? Because you were so concerned about ratings you put your narcissistic need for ratings over prevention and now you are responsible. Enjoy your ratings!!! https://t.co/UQ24h0N247
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) April 21, 2020
Condemnation poured in from a lot of other sources too. Trump has repeatedly had to be reined in from his lie-riddled ramblings by members of his Coronavirus response task force — who are reportedly now just ignoring the president at an increasing rate amidst his paranoid freakouts.
In times of national crisis, with tens of thousands dead, Trump focuses on what he cares about most: Himself. https://t.co/nyzzerXuaI
— Orin Kerr (@OrinKerr) April 21, 2020