Photos via the Governor's Office and Shutterstock
Photos via the Governor's Office and Shutterstock

Americans don’t trust the White House’s leadership on coronavirus. They do trust governors like Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer.

MICHIGAN — Americans have more trust in leaders like Gov. Gretchen Whitmer than in President Trump, new polling shows. 

As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate American life, Gov. Whitmer has begun easing restrictions put in place to prevent the disease’s spread. Still, Republicans in the legislature are meeting to discuss limiting her authority and another protest is being planned to call for an end to stay-at-home policies. 

Those policies have been supported by a majority of Michiganders as The ‘Gander reports, and a wave of national polls suggest Americans of all stripes are supportive of policies like the ones Whitmer continues to advocate for, despite a vocal minority of conservative detractors. 

Infographic by Tania Lili

According to Public Policy Polling, those numbers have gone up over the course of the week, up to 61% from 57% last week. At the same time, approval of President Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis has slipped in Michigan to only 34%.

COURIER reports that nationally almost 70% of Americans had faith in their governor to properly handle their state economies in light of the pandemic. Meanwhile, only 47% thought Trump had a handle on the situation. Faith in national leadership in general is low, with both Republicans and Democrats in Congress having similar numbers to President Trump.

On average, the Hill reports, Democratic governors in key swing states have a higher approval rating than Trump on handling of the pandemic by 32%. An Associated Press poll found that only 12% of Americans felt reaction to the coronavirus pandemic was going too far. Despite that, the protests of this vocal minority have grabbed headlines and earned praise from President Trump. 

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More than twice the number of Americans who said to AP that coronavirus reactions went too far said they didn’t go far enough. 26% of respondents wanted to see more protections put in place to slow the spread of the pandemic. 

But those numbers get even more dramatic when considering specific policy prescriptions for the pandemic. 

Some 80% of Americans support stay-at-home orders, 82% support limiting gatherings to ten or fewer people and 76% support closing bars and restaurants, MSNBC reports. And ABC reported that even if these restrictions were lifted, 80% of Americans still wouldn’t go out to places like restaurants, movie theaters or churches.  

Moreover, ABC reports that Republican messages that the coronavirus is exaggerated and the reaction from governors is overblown fail to resonate with voters of either party. A strong 98% of Democrats and 82% of Republicans said that social distancing orders from governors were responsible and life-saving measures. 

The Kaiser Family Foundation IKFF) found that Democrats and Independents are more willing than Republicans to download and use a contact tracing app to help monitor the spread of the coronavirus, but most Americans in general are willing when told it would help move toward reopening schools and workplaces. 

KFF also found that while most Americans think the worst of the pandemic is behind us, they remain willing to stay at home to prevent a second wave of the virus that health professionals warn is possible if restrictions are lifted too quickly. 

Despite this mountain of data showing Americans remain at home willingly to work together and protect one another from a deadly pandemic, protests continue and Republican officials push states to jump-start economies as quickly as possible. Lisa Graves of the New York Times argues that the protests are “astroturf” — staged political events designed to look like grassroots organizing but which are in fact anything but. 

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“America is now facing three calamities: a deadly contagion, a capricious president and a well-funded right-wing infrastructure willing to devalue human life in pursuit of its political agenda,” she wrote. “Some very rich men and women are making this medical disaster worse through their reckless bellows, inflaming people to demand that states open now no matter how many lives that costs.”

As The ‘Gander reported, misinformation was an instrumental component in making the “Operation Gridlock” protests in Lansing successful despite protesters representing a small minority of Michiganders. That misinformation now includes the incorrect notion floated by President Trump that injecting disinfectant might be a good idea.