Gov. Cooper gets higher marks than President Trump in how well they are doing their jobs and handling the pandemic

Newly published surveys say most North Carolinians have taken precautions because of the COVID-19 disease and support recent government steps to contain the coronavirus.


However, one says most workers are unable to work from home.


The surveys also say more respondents approve of the governor’s handling of the pandemic than approved of how the president has handled it.


Some of these findings come from Nationscape Insights, which is a partnership of The Democracy Fund, the University of California Los Angeles, and USA Today. Nationscape conducted a series surveys of more than 32,000 people around the United States from June 11 to July 15.


Additional findings are from the High Point University Poll, which surveyed registered voters in North Carolina between June 15 and July 17.


Keeping safe


The Nationscape Insights polling asked people about wearing masks (which the governor mandated to deter the spread of the virus), social distancing and travel for non-essential purposes. The findings:


• 88% of 1,012 North Carolinians said they had worn a mask in the prior week, 12% had not.


• 66% of 1,008 said they had socialized with people outside their households and maintained social distancing, while 34% had not socialized with people outside their households.


• 33% of 1,008 had socialized outside their households without not maintaining social distancing, and 67% had not done this.


• 54% of 1,011 had left their homes for non-essential goods or services, while 46% had not.


The poll had questions on whether people approved of the closing of schools and businesses where large numbers gather, and the prohibition on gatherings of 10 or more people. Between 63% and 69% approved of those decisions, and 24% to 29% disapproved.


It found that 42% of respondents said they knew someone who had been sick with COVID AND 58% did not.


Working from home


In North Carolina, High Point University’s pollsters asked 422 registered voters about their jobs and finances and whether they were able to do their jobs from home, which has been recommended to prevent spread of the virus. High Point found:


• 37% of the voters said they were financially better off than a year ago, 31% were worse off, and 31% they were the same as before. (And 1% did not answer.)


• Of those surveyed, half were employed. (The others were retired (25%), unemployed and looking for work (10%), temporarily laid off (5%), not in the labor force (4%) or on sick leave or other leave (1%). Another 5% had other circumstances and 1% did not answer.


• Of those who had those jobs, 36% said they could work from home 58% could not. The rest (6%) did not answer.


Approval ratings


The Nationscape survey found that 41% of 1,011 North Carolinians approved of how Republican President Donald Trump has handled the coronavirus outbreak, and 53% disapproved.


It said 60% of 1,012 approved of how Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has handled the outbreak, and 31% disapproved.


High Point University’s survey of 422 registered voters asked voters more generally whether they approved of how top elected officials were doing their jobs. With a margin of error of 6.2%, the findings:


• 15% said the country is going in the right direction, 77% said it’s on the wrong track.


• 43% approved of Trump’s job performance, 49% disapproved.


• 50% approved of Cooper’s performance, 40% disapproved.


• 32% approved of Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis’ job performance, 33% did not and 36% either did not know or didn’t answer. Tillis is up for reelection this year.


• 24% approved of Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr’s performance, 37% disapproved and 38% did not know or didn’t answer.


Paul Woolverton can be reached at pwoolverton@fayobserver.com and 910-261-4710.