Poll says public mostly supportive of Carney’s handling of COVID-19

DOVER — Gov. John Carney has taken heat from some quarters for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis, but at least according to one metric, Delawareans largely seem satisfied with his performance.

As reported by The Washington Post, 73 percent of Delawareans in a recent SurveyMonkey poll said they approved of how Gov. Carney has handled the state’s response to the outbreak. That figure is tied for 15th overall and seventh out of the 24 Democratic governors.

Approval ratings for President Donald Trump, in comparison, are much lower: A Washington Post-Ipsos poll last week said 43 percent of Americans supported the president’s response to the outbreak, while the data from SurveyMonkey has him at 47 percent approval.

The same Washington Post-Ipsos poll reported 71 percent of people are pleased with their state’s governor.

The only governor below 50 percent in the SurveyMonkey poll is Brian Kemp, a Georgia Republican who controversially reopened the state early, receiving much criticism for it. At 85 percent, Maryland Republican Larry Hogan leads the way for governors.

Delaware has been fairly aggressive in closing things down. Now, with new hospitalizations and positive cases declining, the state is taking steps to reopen. Retail outlets have been allowed to do business with strict limits, the beaches reopen today and religious centers can hold services as long as they follow restrictions.

Despite that, some people are unhappy with the pace: A few rallies have been held throughout the state this month protesting the governor’s stay-at-home order and related mandates. Tuesday, 15 Republican lawmakers sent a letter to Gov. Carney criticizing him for taking too long to reopen and being heavy-handed.

“We write today with extreme concern over the impact of the decisions that have been made so far by your administration in an attempt to combat the coronavirus,” they wrote. “We have watched as your administration favored large and powerful business interests over our local merchants. We have seen businesses shut down and their owners threatened with criminal charges.

“And we have listened as mixed messages and confusion have caused panic and fear to spread far and wide. We have fought tirelessly behind the scenes to impact the decisions you have made, largely because we believed that we needed to all be on the same team in combating this virus.

“Unfortunately, our concerns have not been heeded and our suggestions have been adopted too late, if at all.”

The same day, three of those same Republicans sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr accusing the governor of repeatedly violating the U.S. Constitution with his “draconian” measures.

While President Trump and his allies have been beating the drum for reopening the country, the SurveyMonkey data is another indication the public favors a cautious approach.

The Washington Post-Ipsos poll said 74 percent believe slowing the spread of the virus is more important than boosting the economy, and 76 percent said customers should be required to wear face masks when visiting businesses.

Similarly, a Pew Research Center survey from late April and early May (the same time as the Post-Ipsos findings) found 68 percent of respondents were more concerned about restrictions being lifted too quickly than too slowly, although there was a large divide between Democrats and Republicans.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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