After surpassing the threshold of four million confirmed cases, the USA is continuing to experience a rapid rise in new coronavirus cases. Redfield & Wilton Strategies investigated public sentiment on the coronavirus in six key swing states: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Our poll found that respondents in all swing states do not think that the crisis is coming under control in their state. A strong majority of respondents in Florida (62%) and Arizona (61%), which both have Republican governors, disagree that the coronavirus situation in their state is under control, A majority of those in Democratic-run Wisconsin (59%) and North Carolina (54%) also disagree that coronavirus is in control in their state. In contrast, only a plurality of those polled in the Democratic-run Michigan (39%) and Pennsylvania (45%) believe coronavirus is not under control.
These concerns reflect the reality that Florida and Arizona have been hit particularly hard by the recent spike in infections. Florida has the highest daily average of coronavirus cases (53 cases per 100,000) of any US state, while 42 out of every 100,000 Arizonians is infected with the virus on a daily basis. In contrast, the daily average number of cases per 100,000 is around half that level in North Carolina and Wisconsin, and in single digits in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Pessimistic viewpoints on whether the worst is still yet to come also stem mostly from states experiencing sharper upticks in new cases. Worst-hit Florida and Arizona were among the most pessimistic, with majorities in each fearing the worst is yet to come. Similarly, North Carolina and Wisconsin, both of whom have seen noticeable increases in cases recently, were not far behind. In contrast, smaller pluralities were pessimistic in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
All six states now feel less safe taking part in a range of ordinary activities than they did in our poll last month, reflecting the surge in cases the whole nation has seen in that time.
When questions turned to national handling, a consistent majority (55-61%) in all six states said that Trump should change his current approach to coronavirus. The relative lack of deviation along party lines sends a clear message to the Trump campaign that their strategy must change in either substance or approach, or both, if it is to secure any of these six states.
On the whole, our results show that confidence in Trump’s ability to handle the coronavirus is declining in all six states. Florida’s soaring infection rates and public fear represents a particular concern for Trump, given that it is the largest swing state in terms of electoral college votes. In order to be victorious in the swing states in November, Trump may have to adapt his coronavirus policy.