The coronavirus pandemic is raging across the United States, threatening to cause a major economic recession, with the virus infecting thousands of Americans every day. Some have criticized President Donald Trump's response to the pandemic, but latest polling suggests that a majority of Americans approve of the commander-in-chief's handling of the crisis.
According to a Gallup poll released March 24, Trump's overall approval rating is back to 49 percent -- up five points since earlier this month -- and matching the highest rating of his presidency. The president's approval was 49 percent in late January and early February, after he was acquitted by the United States Senate.
Interestingly, Trump's approval rating among Republicans is not at an all-time high: It is, in fact, two points lower than in late January, at 92 percent. However, the president's rating has gone up among independents and Democrats. Among independent voters, his approval is 43 percent, up eight points since earlier this month. Among Democrats, it's 13 percent, up seven points since early March.
The overall increase in approval ratings likely has to do with the administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic. Most Americans -- 60 percent of them -- believe the president is handling the situation well. Only 38 percent disapprove of the way Trump has dealt with the crisis. Ninety four percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents, and 27 percent of Democrats give the president positive reviews.According to Gallup, the poll "shows a fairly sudden increase, and that increase is seen among both independents and Democrats -- both highly unusual for Trump in particular." Although the daily press briefings -- which Trump has held since acknowledging the pandemic -- might have helped, the approval ratings are likely rising because all Americans are rallying around the president, which usually happens during national crises.
"Historically, presidential job approval has increased when the nation is under threat. Every president from Franklin Roosevelt through George W. Bush saw their approval rating surge at least 10 points after a significant national event of this kind. Bush's 35-point increase after 9/11 is the most notable rally effect on record.""During these rallies, independents and supporters of the opposing party to the president typically show heightened support for the commander-in-chief," Gallup noted.
Trump has been accessed of downplaying the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, but in recent weeks the administration has -- in collaboration with state and local governments -- undertaken significant measures to stop the spread of the virus. However, the commander-in-chief wants to change course once again.
In a recent interview, Trump said that he wants to reopen the United States economy by Easter, apparently arguing that an economic meltdown caused by the pandemic would be worse for the country than the pandemic itself. Medical experts -- including Dr. Keith Martin, a physician who heads the Consortium of Universities for Global Health -- claim that Trump will "have blood on his hands" if he lifts the restrictions.