- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Voters in six states critical to President Trump’s electoral fortunes give him poor marks over his handling of the coronavirus, with more than half saying he pushed states to reopen their economies too quickly to improve his reelection chances, according to a CNBC/Change Research poll.

While Sun Belt states see a spike in cases, 35% of voters in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin blame Mr. Trump for an increase in hospitalizations due to the virus.

It’s the largest share in a question that asked people to list two people or groups deserving of blame, followed by 34% who cite people not wearing masks and 32% who mention states reopening too soon.

The poll found 55% of these swing-state voters agree with the statement that Mr. Trump “is pushing states to reopen their economies too quickly in order to boost his own reelection chances.”

Also, the poll said 43% of voters think Mr. Trump is setting a good example and offering accurate information about COVID-19 precautions, while 57% believe he is not.

The poor grades underscore the peril the pandemic poses to Mr. Trump’s campaign, which was upended by the virus discovered in Wuhan, China, in December.

The president had been planning to run on a strong economy, but is now forced to cheer on a recovery from the pandemic, even as the U.S. records more than 40,000 new cases per day.

The poll shows former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, leading Mr. Trump by 5 to 8 percentage points in each of the six states. Mr. Trump won all of them in 2016.

Vice President Mike Pence is traveling to Phoenix on Wednesday as part of a tour of states where the coronavirus is spiking after Republican governors pushed to reopen their economies.

Arizona is the poster child of the Sun Belt spike, with about one-fifth of tests coming back positive, suggesting widespread transmission in the state that Mr. Trump won by over 3 percentage points against Hillary Clinton.

The CNBC/Change Research poll has Mr. Trump trailing Mr. Biden in Arizona, 51% of 44%.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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