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Governors average 27 percentage points higher in approval for COVID-19 response than President Trump

Microsoft News logo Microsoft News 4/2/2020 Microsoft News and Microsoft Research

As COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the United States, state governors must assess the situation and make decisions on stay-at-home orders, business closures and rally services to respond to health care needs. 

Americans’ views on how their state governors are handling the coronavirus crisis vary widely, but on average governors are receiving significantly higher ratings than President Trump for his response, according to Microsoft News sentiment polling.

Microsoft News asked Americans this week how they felt about the way their governors, as well as President Trump, responded to the crisis. 

Governors received favorable ratings of 72% on average, compared to 45% for President Trump.

One key methodological note: The following two questions were asked together. Respondents were free to answer both of them independently, but they saw both questions at the same time, leading respondents to think more about the relative approval of the two leaders when they answered.

Sentiment polling: Approval of governors and Trump for coronavirus work © Microsoft News Sentiment polling: Approval of governors and Trump for coronavirus work

High Approvals for Governors

At the top of the ratings list, governors from Maryland and Ohio received approval ratings (strongly and somewhat) of 84 percent and 85 percent respectively, on April 1. The sentiment for President Trump was vastly different for these two states at 33 percent and 49 percent.

Governors from Washington, Hawaii, and Massachusetts also received high ratings. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York received 81% rating. President Trump’s average rating in New York was 32%.

Republican strongholds with Republican governors, like Idaho and Wyoming, have strong approval for both President Trump and governors.

Explore the approval ratings for state governors and for President Trump by state below. 

Low Approvals for Governors

On the low end of governor approval ratings, Florida governor Ron DeSantis receives 53 percent favorable ratings, compared to President Trump at 45 percent.

Missouri and Arizona governors also rank low at 53 and 52 percentage points respectively. As of 4/1, Arizona reports approximately 1,400 cases of COVID-19 according to the COVID-19 tracker map from Bing

In Louisiana, a current hotspot for coronavirus cases, Gov. John Bel Edwards received 67 percent approval, compared to 50 percent for Trump.



Microsoft News and Microsoft Research have partnered to conduct quick reaction and tracking polls to learn more about the sentiment around 2020 election. The Microsoft News Poll uses online opt-in polls, collected from a random sample of American adults, to produce statistically valid results. In these surveys, we collected responses from at least 3,000 people per wave from March 21 to April 1 using tools from polling firm CivicScience. We then analyzed the results to model how demographic groups answered each question, based on age, gender, race, education, location, and party identification. Answers were projected onto the estimated distribution of those demographic groups. The method is as accurate as traditional polling methods, and in this survey produced a margin of error of +- 2 percentage points.


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