As COVID-19 ravages varied regions of the United States at different levels of intensity, news reports have repeatedly shown an ideological split in public opinion over how President Trump is handling this pandemic.
While polling data shows that fewer than of half of all Americans approve of the job he’s doing, data suggests that the president is maintaining considerable support from his base. And, while some conservative governors are already opening their states, Trump continues to tweet suggesting that his supporters in predominantly liberal states protest to open these states.
These narratives are factually true but largely incomplete. They collectively do a real disservice because they create not only a genuine misunderstanding of America’s pulse during the pandemic but also suggest a level of ideological polarization that does not exist between liberal and conservative Americans when it comes to COVID-19.
A more complete narrative is critical. Data from the Pew Research Center collected during the epidemic reveals that Americans are indeed polarized around Trump and his behavior but are not deeply divided when it comes to real, concrete safety measures to mitigate the virus and protect Americans.