Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, Trump was getting narrowly positive reviews for his handling of the crisis, which in turn lifted his job-approval ratings somewhat, though not as much as one might expect when looking at the rallying effect benefiting other national leaders, as Matt Yglesias noted on March 31:
[E]ssentially all incumbent leaders appear to be benefiting from a coronavirus-related bump. Compared to the governors of hard-hit states or the presidents and prime ministers of hard-hit foreign countries, Trump’s bump is actually quite small, amounting to maybe 2 or 3 points. Compare that with foreign leaders like France’s Emmanuel Macron or Germany’s Angela Merkel, who have seen double-digit increases in their approval ratings.
A Siena College poll released Monday showed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) enjoying a 20-point boost in his approval rating.
Since then, public assessments of Trump’s handling of the pandemic have steadily eroded. According to RealClearPolitics’ polling averages, his approval ratio on the coronavirus crisis turned negative on April 5, and now stands at 47/50. And accordingly, his overall job-approval rating has been inching downward in barely perceptible but regular ticks, and reached this point today:
He’s doing a bit better at RealClearPolitics, which doesn’t adjust polls for accuracy or partisan bias, and shows him at 46 percent, but the trend lines are similar.
So Trump’s back at, or near, the narrow band of approval ratings that has characterized nearly all of his presidency, and it places him close enough to reelection territory to keep his team upbeat, but not there yet. Perhaps the wild environment created by the coronavirus and the economic collapse it has generated make these trends largely insignificant. But as noted so many times before, voters tend to really like and really dislike this man in an extremely durable manner. He cannot afford big mistakes on COVID-19, but just muddling along while taking credit for good things and shifting blame for bad things is not going to get him a second term.