President Donald Trump. | Evan Vucci/AP Photo
Support for President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has hit an all-time low, according to a new survey, with a similarly substantial majority of Americans also disapproving of his response to widespread racial unrest.
An ABC News/Ipsos poll released Friday reports that a record 67 percent of respondents now disapprove of “the way Donald Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus,” while only 33 percent approve — the widest gulf in public sentiment since ABC News and Ipsos started surveying on the pandemic in March.
The same percentage of respondents, 67 percent, also say they disapprove of “the way Donald Trump is handling race relations” amid protests against police brutality and racial injustice that began in late May after the killing of George Floyd. Just 32 percent of respondents say they approve of Trump’s handling of race relations.
The president’s diminished approval ratings come as the twin national crises have ravaged the United States in recent weeks, with a resurgence of coronavirus infections across the South and West forcing some governors to halt or reverse their states’ reopening plans. The climbs in Covid-19 cases have coincided with the country’s painful reckoning with racial prejudice in policing and other facets of American life.
Trump’s responses to the pandemic and the protests have been broadly criticized. He remains reluctant to acknowledge the coronavirus’ continued threat as he keeps pushing to restart the U.S. economy, most recently ramping up his drive to have students physically return to classrooms in the fall.
Trump last week claimed in an interview with Fox Business that the highly contagious disease is “at some point … going to sort of just disappear,” and asserted during an address at the White House marking Independence Day celebrations that “99 percent” of cases are “totally harmless.” The U.S. has notched record numbers of new infections in late June and early July, with daily caseloads reaching 60,000 for the first time.
Meanwhile, Trump has issued increasingly incendiary rhetoric regarding the Confederate flag and memorials of historical figures whose controversial legacies have come under renewed scrutiny. Last week, he threatened to veto Congress’ annual defense authorization bill over objections to renaming U.S. military bases honoring Confederate commanders, and he warned supporters in a speech at Mount Rushmore of a “left-wing cultural revolution” that was “determined to tear down every statue, symbol and memory of our national heritage.”
In a pair of tweets Monday, Trump blasted NASCAR’s decision to ban the Confederate flag from its races and demanded an apology from the sport’s top Black driver. He also reprimanded the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians for announcing they would review potential name changes for their sports franchises after years of pressure from Native American groups.
The ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted July 8-9, surveying 711 adults. Its margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.