skip to main content
Coronavirus Response: Hospitals Rated Best, News Media Worst

Coronavirus Response: Hospitals Rated Best, News Media Worst

Story Highlights

  • Hospitals' handling of disease rated best of nine institutions, leaders
  • All institutions and leaders receive majority approval, except news media
  • Republicans and Democrats tend to differ drastically in approval

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans are generally positive in their evaluations of how each of nine leaders and institutions has handled the response to the coronavirus situation. Eight of the nine receive majority positive ratings -- led by U.S. hospitals, at 88% approval. Only the news media gets a more negative than positive review.

Approval Ratings of U.S. Leaders' and Institutions' Handling of Response to Coronavirus
Do you approve or disapprove of the way each of the following is handling the response to the coronavirus in the U.S.?
Approve Disapprove Does not apply (vol.)/No opinion
% % %
U.S. hospitals 88 10 2
Your child's school or daycare † 83 9 8
Your state government 82 17 1
Your employer ^ 82 14 4
Government health agencies such as the CDC or NIH 80 17 2
Vice President Mike Pence 61 32 7
President Donald Trump 60 38 1
Congress 59 37 4
The news media 44 55 1
^ Based on 536 employed adults; † Based on 262 parents of children under 18; (vol.) = volunteered response
Gallup, March 13-22, 2020

These data are from a March 13-22 Gallup poll, with the field period starting on the same day President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, and spanning sharp increases in the number of documented cases in the U.S., as well as the number of deaths.

About four in five Americans approve of the way their state government and government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health are handling the coronavirus outbreak. Similarly, 83% of parents of children younger than 18 rate their children's school or daycare positively for its handling of the situation. And 82% of U.S. workers rate their employer's response positively.

Meanwhile, about six in 10 U.S. adults approve of the response by their elected leaders in Washington: President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the U.S. Congress as a whole.

Trump's 60% approval rating for his handling of the coronavirus is higher than his 49% overall job rating, meaning that a substantial percentage of Americans approve of his handling of the current health crisis while disapproving of his performance more generally.

Republicans Give Greater Approval Ratings Than Democrats on Most Measures

Republicans and Republican-leaning independents rate their state government's response to the coronavirus as highly as Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents do. Majorities of both groups also approve of the job that hospitals, government health agencies and Congress are doing, although Republicans' approval is higher than Democrats' in each case.

By contrast, nearly all Republicans (93%), compared with 29% of Democrats, approve of Trump's performance, although Democrats' approval on this measure well exceeds their overall 13% rating for Trump in the same poll.

In addition to partisanship, the lower ratings among Democrats also appear to be a function of higher levels of worry among this group.

Only on the news media's handling of the coronavirus are Democrats more approving than Republicans -- 61% vs. 25%, respectively. Gallup has consistently found that Democrats have more confidence than Republicans in mass media.

Bar graph. Approval of Leaders and Institutions on Response to Coronavirus by Party ID, March 2020.

Bottom Line

Americans are largely approving of how U.S. institutions and leaders are responding to the coronavirus situation.

Hospitals are held in the highest regard during this health crisis, consistent with the high trust and ethical ratings medical and health workers receive in normal times.

The global health pandemic is far from over, and many more challenging decisions on how to handle it will need to be made, both in the near and the long term. How leaders -- from Washington to state capitals to everyday workplaces -- act in the coming months will greatly affect people's lives, and will likely shape Americans' confidence in societal institutions long after the outbreak is under control.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
+1 202.715.3030