Poll: Americans Believe Barack Obama Would Be Better Than Donald Trump At Handling Coronavirus

President Donald Trump as former President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office.
Win McNamee / Getty Images

According to a Yahoo News/YouGov poll released on Thursday, nearly half of Americans believe former President Barack Obama would be better at handling the response to the coronavirus pandemic than President Donald Trump.

According to the poll, 47 percent of Americans think Obama would be able to handle the COVID-19 outbreak more competently than Trump. By contrast, 29 percent believe the United States would be in worse shape under Obama, and 24 percent believe the situation would be the same.

Unsurprisingly, the public is divided along partisan lines. About 79 percent of Democrats said they think Obama would be better at handling the crisis, and 67 percent of Republicans said the former president would have made the outbreak worse. A plurality of independents, 45 percent of them, think the country would be better off with Obama as commander-in-chief.

As Yahoo News notes, public opinion on Trump’s handling of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic could have tremendous implications for the 2020 presidential election.

“The unfavorable comparison between the current president and his Democratic predecessor is one of the clearest signs to date of an emerging dynamic that will define the remainder of Trump’s term and the presidential election.”

The survey contained further questions, with responses spelling potentially bad news for Trump. About 62 percent of Americans thought the Trump administration was not adequately prepared for the pandemic, while only 24 percent felt that it was. Approximately 46 percent of respondents are not satisfied with how the administration is handling the crisis, while 39 percent are. Furthermore, only 24 percent believe Trump did a better job than their governor.

Overall, 53 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Trump has handled the crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. About a third, or 35 percent, think the present deserves most of the blame for the spread of the virus, and 19 percent think he deserves some of the blame. In addition, 43 percent of Americans believe Trump could have reduced the damage “a lot” by acting quicker, and 21 percent say he could have reduced it somewhat.

Although most Americans apparently don’t think highly of Trump’s response to the pandemic, 60 percent of them say the outbreak would have been “much bigger” without restrictions on travel to and from China. Notably, this includes 44 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of whom believe China bears “most of the blame” for the spread of the virus.

According to Yahoo News, “the question for Trump is not only whether he can convince Americans to blame China. The question is whether he can convince Americans to stop blaming him. The poll suggests he has his work cut out for him.”