As federal, state and local governments respond to the COVID-19 pandemic to help keep the public safe, how do Americans approve of the job each level of our federal system of government is doing? According to an Associated Press-NORC poll, 57% of Americans approve of how their state governments are addressing the COVID-19 outbreak and 54% of Americans approve of the job their city and/or local government is doing. That is a stark comparison to the 38% of Americans who approve of the federal government’s handling of the pandemic.
While Republicans and Democrats generally agree on the response of the state and local governments, Republicans are the only party that approve of the federal government’s response (63%). Just 28% of Independents and 21% of Democrats say they approve of the job the federal government is doing. Sixty-five percent of Republicans and 56% of Democrats approve of the job their state government is doing, and 62% of Republicans and 52% of Democrats approve of the job their city and/or local government is doing. Independents are skeptical of both, with only 39% saying they approve of their state government and 39% saying they approve of their city and/or local government.
The federal government is approaching the pandemic from a national perspective. State and local governments have the ability to cater to their community’s direct needs and their needs alone. It should be noted, however, that from a political standpoint, governors, mayors, and other local elected officials will be held accountable for the job they do as the disparity between the ratings of Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo and Republican Governor Ron DeSantis show. The strength of the response, the clarity of public communication and whether the local outcome is perceived as good or bad – all may be remembered more clearly at the state or local level than at the national.