Joe Biden Gets Modestly Positive Initial Marks On Coronavirus

The Trump administration had positive marks at the start of the pandemic, but has gradually lost the public's trust.

President-elect Joe Biden is starting out with modestly positive ratings for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds.

By an 11-point margin, 47% to 36%, voters say they approve of the way Biden has been handling issues related to the coronavirus.

In contrast, voters disapprove of President Donald Trump’s handling of coronavirus issues by a 14-point margin and disapprove of the federal government’s handling of such issues by a 20-point margin.

Results of a HuffPost/YouGov survey on the coronavirus pandemic.
Results of a HuffPost/YouGov survey on the coronavirus pandemic.
Ariel Edwards-Levy/HuffPost

The Trump administration also began this year with positive ratings on the coronavirus. Among the full American public, approval of the federal response to the coronavirus reached as high as 57% in late March. Trump’s approval rating on the issue among all Americans also reached the 50% mark around that time, higher than his overall approval ratings. But ratings for both Trump and the federal government sank into the red by May and have not recovered.

Just 6% of voters currently approve of both Trump and Biden’s handling of the coronavirus, with another 6% disapproving of the way both politicians have handled it; 41% approve only of Biden, and 30% only of Trump. The remainder are unsure about one or both politicians’ actions.

The latest poll coincides with a wave of both optimistic and dispiriting news about the pandemic. Newly announced early results look promising for the eventual rollout of a vaccine. But, more imminently, the U.S. faces a nationwide surge of new coronavirus cases heading into what’s expected to be a difficult winter.

The Trump administration, meanwhile, has so far refused to formally acknowledge the Biden transition team. Biden said Monday that the Trump administration’s refusal to cooperate with the transition process could have stark consequences for government handling of the pandemic.

“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden told a reporter. “As my chief of staff, Ron Klain, would say … a vaccine is important. It’s of little use until you’re vaccinated. So how do we get the vaccine, how do we get over 300 million Americans vaccinated? What’s the game plan?”

Roughly three-quarters of voters say they’re at least somewhat concerned about the spread of coronavirus in the U.S., with 48% calling themselves very concerned.

Just 23% say there are currently too many coronavirus-related restrictions where they live, with 36% saying there’s about the right level, and 36% that there are not enough restrictions in place.

Use the widget below to further explore the results of the HuffPost/YouGov survey, using the menu at the top to select survey questions and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups:

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Nov. 13-16 among U.S. registered voters, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some but not all potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate.

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