President Trump frequently touts the high TV ratings for his daily coronavirus press briefings, citing a two-week-old New York Times report, but viewership isn't translating into perceived leadership, according to a flurry of polls released Wednesday. Despite an early, modest jump in approval ratings, "Trump isn't benefiting from what political scientists refer to as a 'rally 'round the flag' effect — a traditional surge in popularity as the nation unites behind its leader during an emergency situation," Politico reports.
In six separate polls released Wednesday, Trump's approval rating ranged from 40 percent to 45 percent, and "increasing percentages say they think Trump is doing a bad job, and his administration hasn't done enough to protect citizens from the effects of COVID-19," Politico says. Trump's average approval rating, as aggregated by RealClearPolitics, went from 44.5 percent on March 8 to 47.4 percent last week and 45.2 percent on Wednesday afternoon.
"We saw something," Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, told Politico. "There was a slight bump for him," but "the fact that there wasn't a huge rally effect given the severity and the breadth of this crisis is really what's unusual here," he added. "And it says a lot about Trump's unwillingness or inability to capitalize on a moment like this."
Maybe it's a coincidence, but the daily coronavirus briefings "have grown longer since they started, and Mr. Trump's share of the time at the lectern has as well," from 20 minutes per session in mid-March to 53 minutes currently, Peter Baker notes at The New York Times. When he speaks, "the president has routinely contradicted himself without ever acknowledging that he does so," sending "confusing signals that other politicians, public health officials, and the rest of the country are left to sort out."
Monmouth's poll Wednesday had Trump's approval rating at 44 percent, down 2 percentage points from last month, and his handling of the virus was 46 percent favorable, 49 percent unfavorable, a reverse from last month's 50 percent favorable, 45 percent unfavorable numbers. CNN/SSRS and Quinnipiac polls Wednesday had narrow majorities disapproving of Trump coronavirus response. Read more at Politico.