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Americans Trust Governors Most Among Economic Players

Americans Trust Governors Most Among Economic Players

Story Highlights

  • 68% have confidence in state governors on economic recommendations
  • Less than half have confidence in Trump, Republican, Democratic leaders
  • Confidence in economic leadership varies drastically by political party

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More than two in three Americans (68%) say they have "a great deal" or a "fair amount" of confidence in their state's governor to make the right economic recommendations -- a higher level of confidence than they have for federal leaders, including President Donald Trump (47%) as well as Republican (47%) and Democratic leaders (46%) in Congress.

Americans' Confidence in Leaders on the Economy
As I read some names and groups, please tell me how much confidence you have in each to do or to recommend the right thing for the economy -- a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or almost none. How about -- ?
Great deal/Fair amount
The governor in your state 68
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell 58
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin 51
President Donald Trump 47
The Republican leaders in Congress 47
The Democratic leaders in Congress 46
Gallup, April 1-14, 2020

These data -- from Gallup's annual Economy and Finance survey, conducted April 1-14 -- come as U.S. markets struggle to rebound amid the COVID-19 outbreak, and as the number of people applying for unemployment insurance has skyrocketed. President Trump has sparred with numerous governors across the country and the political spectrum over their policies surrounding the response to the coronavirus outbreak, as well as their decisions on when to "reopen" the economy.

The current level of confidence in state governors to handle the economy is higher than the previous 58% and 51% ratings that governors received in 2011 and 2014, respectively -- though governors ranked much higher than federal leaders in each of those polls as well.

Meanwhile, small majorities of Americans have confidence in the economic management of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (51%) and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell (58%). Powell's latest confidence rating is higher than the 45% and 50% figures Gallup found in his first two years in the role.

While Americans are more confident now in governors and Powell in terms of economic recommendations than in the past -- perhaps because of their response to the coronavirus situation -- the same cannot be said about Trump and congressional leaders. Less than half of Americans express confidence in Trump or Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress; each of their ratings is stable from last year.

Confidence in Economic Leadership Varies Greatly by Political Party

Majorities express confidence in their state's governor's handling of the economy across all political stripes, though it is higher among Democrats (77%) than among Republicans (63%) and independents (62%).

While confidence in Trump to make the right economic recommendations is nearly unanimous among Republicans (93%), the level of confidence in the president is less than half that among political independents (45%), and even lower among Democrats (13%).

Republicans and Democrats express solid levels of confidence in their respective political party's leadership in Congress -- and low confidence in the opposing party's leadership. Meanwhile, less than half of independents have confidence in either party's congressional leaders but express slightly higher confidence in Republican leadership (44%) than Democratic (39%).

About seven in 10 Republicans say they have confidence in Powell's economic leadership, compared with slim majorities among independents and Democrats. Meanwhile, Republicans (74%) are more than twice as likely as Democrats (35%) to express confidence in Mnuchin's economic recommendations, while about half of independents have confidence in the secretary, the lead Trump administration negotiator in the coronavirus relief bill passed last month.

Confidence in Leaders on the Economy, by Political Party Identification Group
Republicans Independents Democrats
% Great deal/Fair amount % Great deal/Fair amount % Great deal/Fair amount
The governor in your state 63 62 77
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell 69 54 52
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin 74 49 35
President Donald Trump 93 45 13
The Republican leaders in Congress 85 44 18
The Democratic leaders in Congress 16 39 79
Gallup, April 1-14, 2020

Bottom Line

It's a critical moment for leaders in government, as unemployment applications mount and confidence in the U.S. economy tanks.

While Americans place their greatest trust in their state's executive, the reality is that the 50 governors have had drastically different approaches to the economic crisis within their borders -- with some taking steps to reopen their economies despite concerns and others taking a more cautious approach.

While the governors as a whole inspire higher confidence ratings than the president, this was also the case in two separate measures taken under President Barack Obama. But confidence ratings for state governors have improved since Gallup's last measure, while Trump's ratings have not.

Partisan leaders in Congress, as well as Trump -- who ultimately has to sign legislation they pass -- receive confidence ratings from less than half of the public. But these leaders might find a blueprint to bipartisan work in their recent economic stimulus bill, which was popular across the political spectrum.

View complete question responses and trends (PDF download).

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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