Flash poll: Majority says Trump wasn't taking proper coronavirus precautionsOctober 2, 2020
Following President Donald Trump’s announcement that he and first lady Melania Trump contracted the coronavirus, a POLITICO/Morning Consult flash poll found that 6 in 10 voters believe the president did not take the proper precautions to protect himself from infection.
Though Covid-19 is highly transmissible, and anyone can contract the virus even if they are careful, the president has held numerous campaign rallies where social distancing is not practiced — and as recently as Tuesday mocked his political opponent for being diligent about wearing a face covering.
The POLITICO/Morning Consult flash poll poll was conducted during the day on Friday — prior to the White House's disclosure Friday evening that despite the president exhibiting "mild symptoms" of the virus, Trump would be transported to the Walter Reed military hospital out of an "abundance of caution."
A little over a quarter of voters, 28 percent, believe the president, whose visitors and staffers are frequently tested for the virus and who warmed up to wearing a mask late this summer, did take the proper precautions to protect himself, the poll found.
Fewer voters, though still a majority of 53 percent, fault the president personally for his diagnosis, which was announced just before 1 a.m. on Friday. That’s compared with a little over a third who say Trump is not at fault for contracting the virus.
According to the poll, more than half of voters say the president’s diagnosis will have an impact on how they vote in November’s election, with 23 percent saying it makes them more likely to vote for Trump, and 33 percent saying it makes them more likely to vote for Democratic nominee Joe Biden; a little over 4 in 10 voters say Trump’s illness will not have an impact on how they plan to vote in just over a month.
Trump’s diagnosis appears driving a shift in voters’ opinions on campaign behavior as it relates to the coronavirus threat.
A plurality of voters, 44 percent, say that political campaigns should find alternative ways to connect with voters and should not be holding events whether they be indoors or outdoors, compared with a quarter of voters who agree that outdoor political events are OK and 16 percent of voters who say candidates should hold in-person events during the pandemic even if they are indoors.
The percentage of voters opposed to in-person campaigning is up 4 points from two weeks ago, and is coupled with a 1-point drop in support for indoor events and 5-point drop in support for outdoor events.
An overwhelming majority, 58 percent, say Trump should cancel future in-person rallies, with a little over a quarter of voters in disagreement. For the meantime, Trump’s campaign has announced that it will either postpone or virtually host its planned in-person events, though Vice President Mike Pence is expected to keep his schedule.
Voters are slightly divided on whether Biden should follow his opponent’s lead when it comes to in-person campaigning with just under half, 47 percent, saying the former vice president should probably or definitely cancel his in-person events. Fewer voters, 36 percent, say Biden should probably or definitely continue to hold in-person events. Biden was in Grand Rapids, Mich., for an event on Friday.
Though a plurality of voters (43 percent) say that the two remaining presidential debates between Trump and Biden should go on as planned, that is down from 55 percent of voters in a separate POLITICO/Morning Consult flash poll immediately after Tuesday’s face off.
The next debate between the pair is scheduled for Oct. 15, putting it right at the end of the recommended 14-day quarantine period for those who test positive or are exposed to the coronavirus.
More than a third of voters, 36 percent, support canceling or delaying the next debates.
A greater percentage, 55 percent, say the vice presidential debate should go on as planned: Both Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris tested negative for the virus in the wake of Trump’s diagnosis. More than a quarter of voters, 28 percent, by comparison say that the vice presidential debate, planned for Oct. 7, should be delayed or canceled.
But while more voters support canceling or delaying debates, majorities would prefer virtual contests for both the presidential and vice presidential debates if they do take place. Only 3 in 10 voters would prefer an in-person debate between Trump and Biden, while 34 percent prefer an in-person showdown between Pence and Harris.
A majority of voters, 54 percent, say that in light of Trump contracting the coronavirus should cause a delay in Congress holding confirmation hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. The Senate Judiciary Committee was set to begin hearings on Oct. 12, and while Chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Friday that is still the plan, one GOP member of the committee, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, announced Friday that he too has tested positive for the virus after visiting the White House earlier this week.
About a third of voters, 34 percent, say that the Senate should not let Trump’s infection delay the hearings.
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll was conducted on Oct. 2 among a nationwide sample of 905 registered voters. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Polls conducted entirely in one day can also contain additional sources of error.
Morning Consult is a global data intelligence company, delivering insights on what people think in real time by surveying tens of thousands across the globe every single day.
More details on the poll and its methodology can be found in these two documents: Toplines | Crosstabs