Nearly 7 in 10 Americans say the US response to the coronavirus outbreak makes them feel embarrassed, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS, as 62 percent of the public says President Donald Trump could be doing more to fight the outbreak.
The new poll finds disapproval of Trump’s handling of the outbreak at a new high, 58 percent, as the share who say the worst of the pandemic is yet to come has risen to 55 percent after dropping through the spring. And as the virus has spread from the nation’s cities throughout its countryside, the number who know someone who’s been diagnosed with the virus has jumped dramatically to 67 percent, up from 40 percent in early June.
And Americans are angry. About 8 in 10 say they are at least somewhat angry about the way things are going in the country today, including an astonishing 51 percent who say they are very angry. CNN has asked this question in polling periodically since 2008, and the previous high for the share who said they were “very angry” was 35 percent, reached in 2008 and 2016.
A narrow majority of Americans, 52 percent, say they are not comfortable returning to their regular routines right now, and in the last two months, this group’s expectations for when they might return to life as it was before the coronavirus have changed dramatically. In June, just 9 percent overall said they weren’t comfortable now and didn’t think they would be this year. Now, that figure stands at 26 percent.
Two of the most notable markers of resuming regular life — returning to school and the restart of professional sports — divide people.
Nearly 6 in 10 (57 percent) say schools in their area should not be open for in-person instruction this fall, while 39% say they should be open. Parents are more apt to say schools should open (47 percent), but a narrow majority say they should not (52 percent). This issue is sharply driven by partisanship: 74 percent of Republicans say their local schools should be open vs. 12 percent of Democrats.
Whether pro sports should continue after disruption to some Major League Baseball games due to outbreaks among the players and staff divides the public about evenly: 49% say they should not be playing games, and 45% say they should.
The partisan divisions that have been the hallmark of public opinion on the coronavirus continue in this new poll.
Democrats (76 percent) and independents (58 percent) are far more likely to say the worst is yet to come in the outbreak than are Republicans (26 percent), and the poll finds a massive 64-point gap between the percentages of Republicans and Democrats who say they are comfortable returning to their regular routines today (82% among Republicans, 18 percent among Democrats).
Democrats are nearly unanimous in saying they are more embarrassed than proud about the American response to the virus (93 percent embarrassed, 5 percent proud), while Republicans are mostly proud (61 percent say so vs. 33 percent who are embarrassed).
And anger in this election lies more among the backers of former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, than supporters of Trump. In July 2016, 54 percent of Trump supporters said they were “very angry” about the way things were going in the US; now, 34 percent feel that way. Among Biden’s backers, 75% are very angry, up from 18 percent of Hillary Clinton voters who felt that way.
The poll finds a decline in the share of Americans who say they would try to get vaccinated against the coronavirus if a vaccine became widely available at a low cost: 56 percent say they would try to do so now, while 66 percent felt that way in May. The dip comes across several demographic divides but seems to be concentrated among Trump supporters, 51 percent of whom said they would seek out a vaccine in May compared with 38 percent who say the same now.
Most Americans, though, are confident that the ongoing trials to develop a coronavirus vaccine are properly balancing speed and safety as they move forward (62 percent say they are at least somewhat confident, and 37 percent not too or not at all confident). That includes rare cross-party agreement: 68 percent of Democrats are confident about that, as are 66 percent of Republicans.
In one positive note for Trump in these findings, his approval rating for handling the economy has ticked up to 51 percent.
But Americans don’t yet see much improvement in the economic downturn caused by th4e coronavirus. In fact, 43 percent now say the economy is continuing to worsen, up from 36 percent who felt that way in June. About a quarter (25 percent) say the economy is beginning to recover and 31 percent think it has stabilized, no longer worsening but also not yet improving. About half say they are facing financial hardship due to the coronavirus, a figure that has held roughly steady since April.
The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS August 12 through 15 among a random national sample of 1,108 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer, including 987 registered voters. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. It is 4.0 points among registered voters.