Americans’ desire for a robust coronavirus response has, so far, managed to at least partially transcend political polarization. Although there are significant partisan divides, a majority of both Democrats and Republicans continue to support state-level “stay-at-home” orders.
That’s remained true over the past few weeks, even as President Donald Trump’s messages to the public have ricocheted between support for such orders and calls to “liberate” states with Democratic governors who have imposed them. In a new HuffPost/YouGov survey, 82% of Democrats and 69% of Republicans say it’s the right decision for state governments to tell residents to stay at home unless they have an essential reason for going out.
Members of the public often take cues about policy preferences from their party leaders. But in this case, the poll suggests, Republicans may have largely tuned out the president’s more inflammatory messaging. While Democrats believe Trump and his party are itching to open the country, most Republicans say they see support for continued coronavirus restrictions as the mainstream view of the GOP.
“Overall, there seems to be a lot of projection going on,” said Shana Kushner Gadarian, a political scientist at Syracuse University who’s studied the intersection of partisanship and the response to the coronavirus. “Normally, I think that people take cues from the president but since his messaging has been relatively muddled ... people seem to be filling in their preferred position for his.”
A 69% majority of Republicans, the survey finds, say they believe Trump thinks states with stay-at-home orders are making the right decision. Only about one-quarter of Democrats believe Trump favors such orders. (The poll, conducted last Thursday through Saturday, came prior to the news conference this week in which Trump continued to express support for some measures underway to reopen the country.)
An overwhelming 85% of Republicans say...