Governors who rushed to reopen fare much worse than their more cautious peers in new state-by-state poll

Governors and Trump
(Image credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Collectively, governors have a 71 percent approval rating on how they have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, though the results vary widely from state to state, according to a Washington Post/Ipsos poll released Tuesday morning. President Trump's coronavirus approval rating is 43 percent. Broken down by party, Democratic governors had 75 percent approval ratings for their handing of the pandemic, versus 67 percent for Republican governors, but the governor with the highest rating — Ohio's Mike DeWine, at 86 percent — is a Republican.

After DeWine, the next eight governors on the list are Democrats, and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) sits at the bottom with 39 percent approval for his handling. Governors who emphasized containing the coronavirus over limiting the economic fallout fared better. DeWine, for example, "moved aggressively to close down his state and has been cautious about lifting the restrictions," the Post notes, while Kemp "moved less swiftly than some other governors to mitigate the spread and has been in the forefront of reopening the economy there."

The poll found, not surprisingly, that a large majority of Americans — 74 percent — said the U.S. should prioritize fighting the virus while 24 percent said the emphasis should be on reopening businesses.

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"The range across these states is notable given that the survey simply asked people whether they approved of 'your state's governor,'" the Post says. "The respondents were not prompted with either the name of the governor or the governor's political party." After Ohio, the states whose governors had the highest coronavirus approval were New York (81 percent), California (79 percent), Virginia (78 percent), New Jersey (77 percent), North Carolina (74 percent), Michigan (72 percent), Pennsylvania (72 percent), Illinois (71 percent), Florida (60 percent), and Texas (57 percent). Of those, only Florida and Texas have GOP governors.

Ipsos and The Washington Post conducted the poll April 27 to May 4 among 8,086 adults nationwide through Ipsos's KnowledgePanel. The margin of sampling error for all adults is ±1 percentage point, but it ranges from 3.5 points to 7.5 points in individual states.

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