Views of Trump’s coronavirus response are now breaking down along familiar lines of polarization.
In times of national crisis, the American people typically come together behind their president.
But not this one.
Donald Trump isn’t benefiting from what political scientists refer to as a “rally ‘round the flag” effect — a traditional surge in popularity as the nation unites behind its leader during an emergency situation.
Even as the country confronts the greatest disruption to daily life since World War II, a series of new polls released this week show Trump’s approval ratings plateauing in the mid-40s, roughly where his approval rating stood a month ago, before the coronavirus shuttered much of the nation’s economic and social activity.
In other words, public views of Trump’s leadership in the coronavirus crisis are now breaking down along familiar lines of polarization: Americans view his performance during the pandemic about the same way they view his performance generally.
Trump, by contrast, saw only the slightest increases in his approval ratings. According to the RealClearPolitics average, his approval rating stood at 44.5 percent a month ago, on March 8. By last week, it had ticked up to 47.4 percent — but as of Wednesday afternoon, including the new polls, it was back down to 45.2 percent.
“We saw something,” said Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “Whatever we saw was certainly not anywhere what the typical rally effect would look like, but there was a slight bump for him.”
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