By Gregory A. Smith
President Donald Trump has received high marks from white evangelical Protestants on a range of issues throughout his time in office. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has proved no different – at least in the initial phase of the crisis, according to a new Pew Research Center survey gathered as part of the Election News Pathways project.
The survey was conducted March 10 to 16, after the U.S. recorded its first coronavirus death but before Trump proposed sending $500 billion to taxpayers to soften the economic blow. On March 13, Trump declared a national state of emergency.
Around three-quarters of white evangelicals (77%) say they are at least somewhat confident that Trump is doing a good job responding to the outbreak, including roughly half who say they are very confident. Majorities of white evangelicals say Trump has assessed the risks of the situation correctly (64%) and that the crisis has been blown out of proportion by the media (76%), while just a quarter (24%) say Trump hasn’t taken risks tied to the coronavirus seriously enough. By comparison, about half of Americans overall (52%) say Trump has underplayed the risks, including majorities who say this among the religiously unaffiliated (64%), black Protestants (67%) and Jews (73%).
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