From Sacred Heart University:
A new phone and digital poll by Sacred Heart University’s Institute for Public Policy shows significant approval for Gov. Ned Lamont’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and less for President Donald Trump.
Completed in partnership with the Hartford Courant between March 24 and April 3, the poll surveyed 1,000 Connecticut residents on questions about how Lamont and other state officials have been handling the pandemic in Connecticut. It also gauged the economic toll on residents and the state and examined timing and logistical issues related to attempts to manage and mitigate fallout from the crisis.
“While everyone is very concerned about the immediate and future impact of the coronavirus epidemic on their personal finances, work and quality of life, there was general support for the work of Governor Lamont and his administration to handle this crisis,” said Lesley DeNardis, executive director of the Institute for Public Policy and director of Sacred Heart University’s master of public administration program. “Most people surveyed felt the state wasn’t ready to deal with a crisis of this magnitude and moved too slowly regarding the closing of businesses, but overall confidence in the initial steps taken since the onset of the pandemic in Connecticut was high. And not surprisingly, there is disagreement along party lines over the president’s handling of the pandemic and over trust in the media.”
General reaction to Lamont’s response indicated confidence in the way he and his team are managing the pandemic. The majority of respondents said they approve of the way the governor is handling “communication to the public” (67.2%) and were equally confident about his “overall response and handling of the coronavirus crisis” (65%). Additionally, 53.5% reported they approve of the way Lamont is “instilling confidence in state leadership.” When asked about planning, 51.6% reported they approve of the way Lamont is “addressing a plan for Connecticut residents and families.” However, only 45% reported they approve of the way he is “addressing a plan for businesses in the state.”
While 67.4% of respondents believe the state’s handling of school closings was managed “about right,” more than a quarter believe bars/restaurants (29.7%) and theaters (29%) were closed too late. However, 82.7% of surveyed residents agree with Lamont’s decision to close nonessential businesses.
Regarding the state’s preparedness for this epidemic, only 21.8% of surveyed residents believe Connecticut was prepared to handle the coronavirus pandemic, while 38.1% believe Connecticut was not prepared. The remaining 40.1 percent reported either neutral or unsure.
Findings on impact
Other key findings from the SHU Polling Institute/Hartford Courant survey include:
— The vast majority of surveyed residents (91.8%) were either very concerned (66.2%) or somewhat concerned (25.6%) with the financial impact of the coronavirus on Connecticut’s economy.
— More than two-thirds of respondents (69.2%) reported the virus has had an impact on their daily life, with one-third indicating their work life (32.1%) has been most affected.
— Among those reporting on their work life during the crisis, 33% reported they are working from home, while 22.1% are laid off temporarily.
— Among those working from home, 20.8% anticipate they will be working from home for eight weeks or more.
— Daily work life has been most affected among respondents aged 18-34 (36.1%), aged 35-44 (39.8%) and aged 45-64 (35.9%).
— Responding residents aged 65 or older reported their social life is most affected (34.5%).
Regarding media’s handling of the virus, 54.8% of surveyed residents rated the quality of media coverage regarding the coronavirus as excellent or good and said they have either a great deal of trust (15%) or some trust (35.1%) in the media coverage they have seen. In a partisan breakdown, 62.3% of Democrats rate the quality of media coverage around the pandemic as excellent or good, versus 51.9% of Republicans. Similarly, 61.5% of Democrats trust the media coverage around the virus, while 39.4% of Republicans reported the same.
Ratings for Trump
On the national front, 47.4% of surveyed Connecticut residents disapprove of Trump’s overall handling of the coronavirus crisis, compared to 39.9% that approve. Broken down by party affiliation, those numbers vary significantly. More than two-thirds of Republicans (71%) approve of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, compared to 21.8% of Democrats. Divided by gender, 45.7% of men approve of the president’s handling of the pandemic, compared to 34.6% of women.
GreatBlue conducted the 40-question, Connecticut-specific, scientific, telephone and digital survey on behalf of the SHU Institute for Public Policy. Statistically, this sampling represents a margin for error of +/-3.02% at a 95% confidence level.
Sacred Heart’s Institute for Public Policy, which was established in 2017 in the College of Arts & Sciences, is aligned with the University’s master of public administration program. In addition to hosting state-wide polls, the institute conducts public policy research, hosts public forums and workshops and serves as a public-policy learning incubator for students.
A PDF file of complete polling results is available at www.sacredheart.edu/poll-results.