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Party Affiliation Dictates Responses to ‘Chinese Virus’

Voters are closely divided over how the government has responded so far to the coronavirus threat, but, even in a time of national emergency, it appears that party affiliation overrides all.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 45% of Likely U.S. Voters rate President Trump’s response to the coronavirus threat as good or excellent. Forty-three percent (43%) say he’s doing a poor job. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Diving a little deeper, though, we see that 77% of Trump’s fellow Republicans give his response to the coronavirus positive marks, but 57% of Democrats and 54% of voters not affiliated with either major party think he’s doing poorly.

Similarly, 56% of Democrats say it’s racist when Trump refers to the virus which originated in Wuhan, China as “a Chinese virus.” Sixty percent (60%) of GOP voters disagree. Unaffiliateds are almost evenly divided.

Among all voters, 46% say it’s racist to refer to the coronavirus as “a Chinese virus,” but 47% disagree.

Forty-two percent (42%) believe the response to the coronavirus by federal, state and local governments has been about right. But nearly as many (40%) say they’ve done too little. Just 11% think the government response has been too much.

Yet while 56% of Republicans rate the response by the federal, state and local governments as about right, 52% of Democrats say they haven’t done enough. Unaffiliated voters are closely divided over whether the government response has been too little or about right.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted March 19 and 22, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Americans strongly support the government’s travel bans and school closings in response to the coronavirus threat, but one-in-four think panic, not reason, is driving some decisions. 

Men and women are in general agreement about Trump’s response. Men are slightly more likely to say the federal, state and local governments have done too little.

The older the voter, the more likely they are to think that the response by federal, state and local governments has been about right. Older voters are also more likely to give the president positive marks for his response and less likely to see his reference to “the Chinese virus” as racist.

Blacks are much more critical of Trump’s response than whites and other minority voters are. One-in-five black voters are undecided, though, when asked how to rate the responses by federal, state and local governments.

Among voters who think the response at all levels of government has been about right, 68% say Trump has done a good or excellent job. Seventy-one percent (71%) of those who say government has done too little give the president poor marks.

Given China’s initial silence about the outbreak of the coronavirus which allowed it to spread worldwide, a sizable number of voters here think the Asian giant needs to pay for some of the losses the virus has caused

Americans plan to continue to grocery shop in the face of the coronavirus threat, and most aren’t worried that food and other necessary items will become hard to find.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted March 19 and 22, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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