Americans are no longer confident President Joe Biden has communicated a clear plan to tackle the pandemic, according to a new Gallup poll published Tuesday, in line with the president’s worsening approval ratings as the country battles a delta variant-fueled wave of Covid-19.
A Gallup poll, conducted August 16-22 among 3,552 adults, found 42% of Americans do not believe Biden has elucidated a clear plan of action to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, up from 35% in July.
The poll marks the harshest review of Biden’s pandemic messaging since October—a time that covers his candidacy, time as president-elect and time as president—according to Gallup’s polls, and for the first time ever fewer Americans, 40%, were positive about his coronavirus communications than negative.
Opinions on communications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state governors have followed similarly negative trajectories, the poll found.
While opinions on the CDC fluctuate, they now skew decidedly negative, Gallup found, with 41% saying they do not believe the agency has communicated a clear pandemic plan.
That level of negativity has only been recorded twice before—once in September amid heightened concerns over the rapidity of vaccine approval (41%) and again in January amid skyrocketing cases (40%)—though the number of people expressing a positive attitude towards the CDC’s pandemic communications (32%) remains above nadirs from those two times (25%).
Opinions on communications from state governors, which have consistently been more positive than negative since Gallup began polling the topic in June 2020, are souring, with 35% of Americans believing there is no clear communication on pandemic response from governors, up from previous polling, although 41% still believe governors are communicating clearly on the crisis.
Increasing negativity towards officials and organizations managing the pandemic comes amid a persistent wave of coronavirus and a new barrage of restrictions attempting to manage it. Many of these new policies—like the reintroduction of masks and social distancing recommendations—had been phased out in every state bar Hawaii and were reimposed on vaccinated and unvaccinated alike. This was a marked shift in approach from organizations like the CDC, prompted by the highly infectious nature of the delta variant, following many months of officials holding up vaccines as an end to restrictions and lockdowns. The president’s approval ratings in particular have been sliding as the country manages another wave of the pandemic and troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan.
Unlike Biden, opinions on pandemic communications from former-president Donald Trump consistently polled as more negative than positive, according to Gallup.
Americans’ Ratings of CDC Communication Turn Negative (Gallup)
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