Public wants federal government, not states, in charge on coronavirus
President Trump has repeatedly said that he sees the federal government’s role as “backup” to the states on the response to coronavirus. But Americans want the federal government — not states — to take the lead, according to our latest KFF tracking poll.
Why it matters: States have so far been the ones issuing specific directives about social distancing, and are also trying to source health care supplies.
By the numbers: 60% of the people we surveyed said the federal government should be primarily responsible for the coronavirus response, almost double the 32% who say their own state should be primarily responsible.
Yes, but: More than half — 52% — say their state is actually leading the response, not the federal government.
- There’s a big partisan breakdown in these perceptions.
- Nearly seven in 10 Democrats say their state is leading the response, while 53% of Republicans say it’s the federal government.
- People in states with stay-at-home orders are more likely to say their state government is leading the response.
The bottom line: The public seems to believe that in a health crisis of this magnitude, with a virus that doesn’t stop at state or international borders and the death toll mounting, a more uniform and aggressive national response is needed.