CORONAVIRUS

Poll finds Iowans approve of Kim Reynolds' coronavirus response

Same poll finds most don't share the same opinion of Trump

Gov. Kim Reynolds arrives Thursday at a news conference at the state emergency operations center in Johnston to give an
Gov. Kim Reynolds arrives Thursday at a news conference at the state emergency operations center in Johnston to give an update on the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

Iowans, and many Americans it seems, feel their governors are doing a better job handling the coronavirus pandemic than is President Donald Trump.

Here at home, more than half of Iowans approve of the job Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds is doing in guiding the state’s response to the pandemic, a poll shows.

New polling published this past week showed 54 percent of Iowans approve of the way Reynolds is handling the coronavirus outbreak.

The same poll showed just 46 percent of Iowans had the same opinion of Trump.

The polling was conducted by researchers from Harvard Kennedy School, Northeastern University and Rutgers University. The researchers surveyed almost 23,000 individuals between April 17 and 26 across 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Iowans are not alone in showing more faith in their governor than the president. In fact, survey respondents in all 50 states gave their governor a better coronavirus response approval rating than the president.

But Iowa’s approval gap is not nearly as wide as it is elsewhere.

In New York, for example, 74 percent of people said they approve of the job Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is doing in handling the pandemic, while just 40 percent said the same of Trump. New York has been one of the hardest-hit states by the virus.

In an effort to limit the coronavirus’ spread through the state, Reynolds ordered Iowa schools closed and some businesses closed entirely or partially. Starting last week, she lifted some of those restrictions on some businesses in parts of the state that have not been as hard-hit by the virus.

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As of Sunday, 184 Iowans have died from the coronavirus, and 9,169 positive cases have been confirmed, according to state public health data.

The numbers continue to climb in Iowa: three days last week set new single-day highs for virus-related deaths.

Just 25 percent of Iowans said they disapprove of how Reynolds has managed the pandemic; 20 percent offered no opinion.

Roughly 3 in 5 Iowans polled said state government is reacting “about right” to the pandemic; 32 percent said the state is “not taking the outbreak seriously enough,” and just 8 percent said the state is “overreacting,” the poll found.

Trust in city government was even higher: nearly 4 in 5 Iowans said they have “a lot” or “some” trust in their city government to do the right thing in managing the virus, according to the poll.

Iowans also remain supportive of state-ordered mitigation efforts that required many businesses to close. Roughly 4 in 5 Iowans “strongly” or “somewhat” approve of business closures to prevent the disease’s spread, while just 1 in 5 “strongly” or “somewhat” disapprove, according to the results.

Those numbers are strong across the country and across political parties, the poll found.

“People are highly supportive of the social distancing measures — they’re not ready to reopen the economy yet,” David Lazer, a professor of political science and computer and information sciences at Northeastern University, said in a news release. “And this is pretty much a bipartisan consensus.”

Erin Murphy covers Iowa politics and government. His email address is erin.murphy@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at @ErinDMurphy.

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Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please donate. Your contribution will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.

All donations are tax-deductible.