AP-NORC poll: State and U.S. government virus approval dips

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A new AP-NORC poll finds a small decline in the positive views of how federal and state governments are handling the coronavirus outbreak, as opposition to measures such as stay-at-home orders has increased. Approval of leaders in Congress also has recently declined.;

WASHINGTON – Views of how government at all levels is handling the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. have deteriorated somewhat over the past month, as a growing minority of Americans prefer that states lift restrictions on social and economic life.

Still, Americans remain more likely to approve of the actions of their state government than of the federal government or Congress. At the same time, the new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows ratings of President Donald Trump’s overall performance remain remarkably steady, as they have for much of his presidency.

Among other findings in the survey of American adults, conducted May 14-18:

— Only about a third of Americans approve of how the federal government is handling the pandemic, while more — roughly half — now disapprove. The balance of opinion has shifted from one month ago, when 4 in 10 approved and about as many disapproved.

— Meanwhile, approval of how leaders in Congress have responded during the outbreak remains low, with just about a quarter expressing approval and half disapproving. Disapproval is up from roughly 4 in 10 one month ago, shortly after the passage of a well-received $2 trillion rescue plan that sent direct payments to millions of Americans and provided loans to both small businesses and large corporations.

— The bleak assessment of the federal government and Congress compares with more positive opinions of how state governments are doing dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. Currently, 51% approve of state governments' response, while 33% disapprove. Still, approval of states has also dipped since April, when 63% approved of the response from state governments.

— While overall views have soured, state governments still see bipartisan support from Americans who favor COVID-19 restrictions. Among those who support stay-at-home orders, close to 7 in 10 across party lines approve of their state government's response.

But Americans who oppose stay-at-home orders — most of whom are Republican — are far more negative in their assessments, with 56% saying they disapprove of how state governments are handling the outbreak.