WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: President Donald Trump's motorcade arrives at the White House on May 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
Three members of coronavirus task force in quarantine
03:05 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Most Americans (54%) continue to say the US government is doing a poor job preventing the spread of Covid-19, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS.

And, while a growing share of the public feels the worst of the outbreak is behind us (44%, up from 17% in April), a majority (52%) still sees the worst on the horizon.

Four-in-10 Americans say that they personally know someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, a figure that has nearly doubled in the last month. And most say the government is not doing enough to address the growing death toll (56%), the limited availability of testing (57%) or the potential for a second wave of cases later this year (58%).

The new poll finds President Donald Trump’s overall approval rating holding about even at 45%. His rating now matches his high point in CNN polling dating back to the start of his term.

But at the same time, the President’s numbers for handling the coronavirus outbreak have worsened (55% now disapprove, up from 48% in early March and 52% last month), and only 36% say they consider Trump a trusted source of information about the outbreak.

Partisanship sharply divides views on nearly everything related to the virus, which brought an abrupt end to in-person social interactions and stalled much of the nation’s economy in March.

One of the sharpest partisan divides in the poll comes over where the US stands in the coronavirus outbreak. Republicans have made a 180-degree turn on this question since April. Last month, 70% of Republicans said the worst was yet to come, now, 71% say the worst is behind us. Among Democrats and independents, there have been more modest positive shifts, but majorities in each group still believe the worst is ahead (74% of Democrats, 51% of independents feel that way).

Roughly a third of Americans say they’re afraid about the potential for deaths from coronavirus to reach 100,000 or higher in the US (35%), and the same share express fear about a potential second wave later this year. About a quarter say they are frightened by the limited availability of coronavirus testing (26%), and roughly 1 in 6 say the same about shortages of basic food items (17%) and cleaning products (18%).

These feelings, too, are divided by party. Most Democrats say they are afraid about the possibility of a second wave (58%) or the rising death toll (56%), while among Republicans just 14% and 15%, respectively, feel the same way.

And partisanship splits the public on how the government is responding to the crisis.

While 82% of Democrats say the federal government is generally doing a poor job, 80% of Republicans say it’s doing a good one. There is nearly a 70-point chasm between Democrats and Republicans over whether the government is doing enough to address the potential for the death toll to rise to 100,000 or higher (81% of Republicans say the government is doing enough, just 13% of Democrats agree).

And there are differences of more than 60 points between partisans over whether the government is doing enough to address a potential second wave of cases (76% of Republicans say yes vs. 10% of Democrats) or the limited availability of coronavirus testing (77% of Republicans say yes vs. 12% of Democrats).

Some of the division in views of the virus may stem from a wide divergence in trusted sources of information about it. Republicans are more apt to say that they trust the information they get about coronavirus from Trump (84%) than they are to say they trust the information they get from Dr. Anthony Fauci (61%), the nation’s top infectious disease expert, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (72%). Among Democrats, just 4% say they trust the information they get from the President, well behind the 81% who say they trust Fauci or the 80% who trust the CDC. Overall, CNN (55% trust) inspires far more trust than Fox News (35%), with those figures also divided by party.

The virus has had a disproportionate impact on the African American community, and the poll finds a majority of black adults say they know someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, 54% say so compared with 38% of white adults and 36% among Latino adults. African Americans are also far more apt to give the government negative marks for its efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, with 79% saying the federal government is doing a poor job stemming the spread, compared with 55% of Latinos and 50% of whites.

The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS May 7 through 10 among a random national sample of 1,112 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.