Approval of Trump’s coronavirus response underwater, as he returns to trail: POLL

A solid majority of Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump‘s handling of the coronavirus, even as he returned to the campaign trail with a rally Saturday night that marked his first major event since the pandemic began, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday finds.

His approval now stands at 41%, similar to the 39% approval rating he received the last time the question was asked in a poll two weeks ago. Trump’s disapproval now stands at 58%, compared to 60% last time.

For more than two months, Trump’s approval for his response to the outbreak has been underwater, with disapproval consistently hovering in a narrow band from 57% to 60% since the end of April.

Since ABC News/Ipsos began polling on the coronavirus in mid-March, Trump’s approval has mostly held steady, except for one week in March, when it was above water, at 55%, and his disapproval landed at 43%. The new poll was conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News using Ipsos’ Knowledge Panel.

Despite the low marks, the president moved forward with his first in-person rally since March, which he said he viewed as the relaunch of his reelection campaign that was ground to a halt by the deadly virus.

Throughout the rally inside the BOK Center, where social distancing guidelines were not followed, Trump frequently brought up the coronavirus, giving himself high praise for his administration’s response to the crisis.

“COVID-19,” Trump said, “that name gets further and further away from China as opposed to calling it the Chinese virus. And despite the fact that we — I have done a phenomenal job with it. … We saved hundreds of thousands of lives, and all we do is get hit on like we’re terrible.”

In the United States, confirmed cases of the virus top 2.2 million and the death toll stands at nearly 120,000.

Trump’s decision to hold a massive rally in Oklahoma came as multiple health officials warn that a packed event in an indoor arena that seats up to 19,000 could supercharge the spread of the coronavirus in an area that’s already seeing cases on the rise.

The daily number of coronavirus cases statewide have increased over the last week, while the number of tests conducted each day has declined slightly, according to the state’s health department. The number of daily cases in the Tulsa area has also trended upward over the past two weeks, while the rate of testing has remained about the same, according to Tulsa County’s health department.

On the same day of the rally, Tulsa County reported it’s highest one-day increase in coronavirus cases so far, with 136 new positive cases.

The campaign required supporters to sign a waiver saying they assume all risks if they are exposed to COVID-19 at the event, an effort to prevent any lawsuits.

Around the perimeter of the event, health care workers in personal protective equipment were on hand to check the temperatures of the attendees with hand scanners and kiosk temperature scanners before they entered the arena. There were also stations filled with face masks and hand sanitizer for the attendees.

The new survey comes just days after Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on the “Powerhouse Politics” podcast, that his advice for people who want to attend Trump’s rallies is the same for anti-Trump protestors – any large group is “a danger” and “risky.” For anyone who insists on attending, he said, they should wear a mask.

Fauci, who said he personally would not attend the rally, has long been the leading scientific voice on the nation’s response to the coronavirus, and a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which is charged with overseeing the administration’s efforts to control and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

But in recent weeks, the task force has faded in prominence, and earlier this week, Fauci told NPR’s 1A program that he last spoke to Trump “two weeks ago.”

Less than five months until the November general election, Trump’s approval for his management of the coronavirus, which is likely to be a mainstay issue of the election, continues to fall sharply along partisan lines.

Among Democrats, only 6% approve of the president’s stewardship through the crisis, with an overwhelming 94% disapproving. Republicans, on the other hand, are a near mirror image, with 90% approving of the president’s coronavirus response, and 10% disapproving.

Independents again trace the attitudes of the country, with 59% disapproving and 40% approving.

Trump is also struggling more with women than men on this issue, with 62% of female respondents disapproving of his handling of the pandemic, compared to 54% of men. Just over one-third of women approve of the president’s leadership, compared to 46% of men.

Racial groups, too, show division. White Americans (50%) are nearly four times as likely as black Americans (13%) and twice as likely as Hispanics (25%) to approve of Trump’s coronavirus response. Overwhelming majorities of black Americans (85%) and Hispanics (74%) disapprove of the president on this issue, with 49% of white Americans feeling the same.

This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs’ KnowledgePanel® June 17-18, 2020, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 727 adults, with oversamples of black and Hispanic respondents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 4.1 points, including the design effect. See the poll’s topline results and details on the methodology here.

ABC News’ Will Steakin and Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.

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