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Governors Rated Highest for Conveying Clear COVID-19 Plan

Governors Rated Highest for Conveying Clear COVID-19 Plan

Story Highlights

  • 51% of Americans agree that their governor has communicated a clear plan
  • 46% say Biden has, 33% say the same of Trump and 31% the CDC
  • Democratic governors continue to be more positively rated than Republicans

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans continue to rate their own governors more positively for communicating a clear plan of action in response to the coronavirus than they do other political leaders or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). While 51% of U.S. adults agree that their state's governor has conveyed such information, 46% say the same of President-elect Joe Biden, 33% of President Donald Trump and 31% of the CDC.

Americans' Ratings of Leaders for Communicating a Clear Plan for Coronavirus
Please think about the recent impact of the coronavirus on your life when responding to the following and indicate your level of agreement or disagreement that each has communicated a clear plan of action in response to the coronavirus.
Your state governor Joe Biden Donald Trump The CDC
% % % %
5 "Strongly agree" 27 25 23 11
4 24 21 10 20
3 18 18 6 35
2 9 10 5 16
1 "Strongly disagree" 21 25 56 18
GALLUP PANEL, Nov. 16-29, 2020

Gallup asks respondents to indicate on a five-point numerical scale whether they agree that each of the key COVID-19 leaders has communicated a clear plan of action in response to the coronavirus. Agreement is signified by the combined percentages scoring their agreement at the highest level -- a 4 or 5 on the scale.

These findings, from Gallup's ongoing COVID-19 probability-based online tracking survey, conducted Nov. 16-29, are the latest in this trend, which was first asked in early June. Biden was added to the list in October.

Ratings of Governors and Trump More Stable Than CDC

Since June, the public's positive views of their governors (between 50% and 56%) and Trump (between 28% and 35%) have been fairly stable, while views of the CDC have been slightly more variable, ranging from 25% to 36%. Governors have been consistently rated higher for instilling confidence in Americans that they have a clear coronavirus response plan.


Line chart. Americans' ratings of Trump, the CDC and their state governor for their communication of a clear plan in response to the coronavirus since June 8. The latest data show 51% of U.S. adults agree that their state governor has communicated a clear plan, 33% say Trump has, and 31% say the CDC has.

Partisans Differ on Views of Leaders, Less So on CDC

Partisans hold sharply different views of whether the president and president-elect have communicated a clear plan in response to the pandemic. Identical percentages (82%) of Republicans and Democrats agree that Trump and Biden, respectively, have conveyed such a plan. At the same time, 99% of Democrats say Trump has not, and 77% of Republicans say Biden has not. Independents are divided on whether Biden has communicated a clear action plan, but a majority say Trump has not.

Ratings of the CDC's communication of a plan are more uniform among partisans. They are also lower than the political leaders -- 37% of Republicans and 28% of Democrats and independents rate the agency positively.

Partisans' Agreement That U.S. Leaders Have Communicated a Clear Coronavirus Plan
Total agree
4, 5
Total disagree
1, 2
% % %
Joe Biden
Democrat 82 13 5
Independent 34 28 37
Republican 9 15 77
President Donald Trump
Democrat <1 <1 99
Independent 27 11 62
Republican 82 8 10
Democrat 28 36 36
Independent 28 35 36
Republican 37 35 29
GALLUP PANEL, Nov. 16-29, 2020

Democratic Governors Rated Better Than Republicans

Governors in the U.S. are about evenly split between the two parties. Since mid-June, Democratic governors have been more positively rated than Republican governors for their coronavirus response by margins of eight to 20 percentage points. The latest readings show a 16-point gap.


Line graph. Democratic and Republican governors' ratings for communicating a clear plan for the coronavirus situation since June 8. The latest data show 59% of Americans agree that Democratic governors and 43% of Republican governors have conveyed a plan.

Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to rate the response of governors from their own party positively. That is, 84% of Democrats think their Democratic governor has communicated a clear coronavirus plan, while 59% of Republicans say the same of Republican governors. Independents rate Democratic governors better than Republican governors, 51% vs. 40%, respectively.

Governors enjoy more cross-over support from partisans for their performance than do Trump and Biden. About three in ten Republicans and Democrats with governors of the opposing party say they have conveyed a clear plan.

Partisans' Ratings of Governors' Clear Communication About Coronavirus, by Party of Governor
Agreement that governor has communicated a clear plan
Total agree
Total disagree
% % %
Republican governor
Democrat 32 18 50
Independent 40 24 35
Republican 59 22 19
Democratic governor
Democrat 84 11 6
Independent 51 24 24
Republican 31 20 49
GALLUP PANEL, Nov. 16-29, 2020

Bottom Line

Americans remain more likely to say governors have communicated a clear COVID-19 response plan than they are to say the same about the current president, the president-elect or the CDC. This is generally consistent with Americans' higher level of trust in state government than in federal government. Also, throughout the pandemic, public health directives and decisions have primarily been made at the state level with some guidance from the national level.

As the vaccine rollout begins, national and state authorities will have to coordinate to distribute them to the American public. Trump administration officials are overseeing the initial deliveries of the vaccine. Biden has formed his administration's coronavirus response team and detailed his plans.

Learn more about how the Gallup Panel works.

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