- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 24, 2020

President Trump is likely enjoying a rally of public support, including his personal-best approval rating, as he leads the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gallup said Tuesday.

Gallup’s latest survey found that 60% of Americans approve of Mr. Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, and 38% disapprove, which the pollster said was the president’s highest rating ever.

Among Republicans, 94% approve of the president’s handling of the outbreak; 60% of independents approve; and 27% of Democrats approve.

“Two aspects of Trump’s latest approval rating suggest a presidential approval rally effect,” wrote Jeffrey Jones of Gallup. “His rating shows a fairly sudden increase, and that increase is seen among both independents and Democrats — both highly unusual for Trump in particular.”

Two other recent polls, by CBS News and ABC News, found that Mr. Trump’s approval rating on handling the pandemic was 53% and 55%, respectively.

Historically, presidential job approval has increased when the nation is under threat, Gallup noted. Every president from Franklin D. Roosevelt through George W. Bush saw their approval rating surge at least 10 points after a “significant national event.” Mr. Bush’s 35-point increase after the 9/11 terrorist attacks is the most notable rally effect on record, the pollster said.

Overall, the president’s job approval rating was back up to 49%, up from 44% earlier this month and matching the highest rating of his presidency in the Gallup poll.

Mr. Trump also had 49% job approval in late January and early February, around the time of his Senate impeachment trial.

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