The August wave of our COVID States survey indicates a continued gradual decline in approval of governors’ management of COVID-19, and a small improvement in President Trump’s management of COVID-19. The average governor saw their approval slip another 3 points in the last month, to 48% approval (versus 63% in late April). President Trump, who started from a much lower point, rebounded slightly from his low point of approval of 32% in July to 34% in August. See Figure 1 and Table 1 for trends in approval for governors by state, and Figure 1 and Table 2 for trends in approval for President Trump. The governors of Maryland, Massachusetts, and Connecticut are all at 65% approval or above. States with governors that have notably low approval ratings (below 40%) include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Oregon, Oklahoma, Missouri, South Carolina, and Texas.
Governors who have suffered particularly precipitous drops in the last month include the governors of California (Newsom), Virginia (Northam), and Florida (DeSantis). Newsom dropped from 58% approval to 47%, Northam from 59% to 46%, and DeSantis from an already low 40% to 29%. Notably, despite the general stability in presidential approval, Trump’s approval in Florida of his management of COVID-19 also dropped sharply, from 39% to 29%.
Approval for governors dropped since April among their co- and anti-partisans; but generally, more so among anti-partisans. Average approval for a Democratic governor among Democrats dropped 8 points since April; and 16 points among Republicans. Approval for Republican governors dropped 12 points among Republicans; and 19 points among Democrats. See Figure 2 for partisan patterns in approval by state, and Figures 3 and 4 for averaged approval for Republican and Democratic governors by respondent’s party affiliation. (Note that these subsamples are smaller, and thus the trends are noisier at the state level.)