Poll finds increasing number of Iowans disapprove of Reynolds’ handling of COVID-19, as another 1,341 cases are reported

Gov. Kim Reynolds discusses COVID-19 during a press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. — video still

Almost half of all Iowans disapprove of how Gov. Kim Reynolds is handling the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new Iowa Poll. Forty-seven percent of respondents in the poll published by the Des Moines Register on Thursday disapproved of Reynolds’ performance, an increase of 11 percentage points since the last time the Iowa Poll surveyed Iowans on this subject in June.

The number of people who approved of the governor’s COVID-19 response also dropped since the June poll. At that time, 59 percent of respondents approved, but that has declined to 44 percent.

The number who said they were “not sure” if they approved or disapproved increased from 6 to 9 percent between the two polls.

Republicans overwhelming supported Reynolds in the poll, with 80 approving of her COVID-19 response. An even higher percentage of Democrats — 82 percent — disapproved. Fifty percent of respondents who described themselves as independents disapproved, while only 38 percent said they approved of how Reynolds has handled the pandemic.

The poll was conducted by Selzer & Co. for the Register and Mediacom. The company surveyed 803 Iowans between Sept. 14 and 17.

As the Register noted, the “number of new reported daily coronavirus cases hovered around 300” the week before the June poll.

“But in the week preceding the September poll, the average number of new reported daily cases was around 650 per day. Two weeks before the poll, the average had been more than 800 per day, and it had been 1,140 per day the week before that.”

At 10 a.m. on Thursday, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported another 1,341 were confirmed as having COVID-19 during the previous 24 hours. That number included 42 residents of Johnson County and 72 residents of Linn County.

The department also reported the deaths of another six Iowans from the virus during that period, including one person from Linn County. The newly reported deaths brought Iowa’s COVID-19 death toll to 1,299.

The state’s current surge in cases is centered in northwestern counties. Sioux County’s 14-day average positivity rate for its COVID-19 tests on Thursday was 30.5 percent, according to IDPH. A total of 14 counites in Iowa had 14-day positivity averages of 15 percent or higher on Thursday. A week earlier, only five counties did.

Gov. Reynolds was asked about the surge in cases in Sioux and other northwestern counties on Wednesday.

“We need to do the case investigation, we need to see what’s that tied to and take appropriate steps and I believe they’re doing that, and hopefully we can continue to move forward and see the case counts drop,” Reynolds said.

The new Iowa Poll also found the number of people who think the state is moving in the wrong direction has increased by 6 percentage points since June, bringing the total to 47 percent. That is the highest “wrong direction” number Selzer & Co. has had in the Iowa Poll since February 2011.

Forty-three percent of respondents said they believed the state is headed in the right direction, a decline of 4 percentage points since the June poll. Ten percent said they were unsure.

Once again, opinions divided along party lines, with 81 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents saying the state is headed in the wrong direction. Among Republicans, 78 percent said that things are going the right way in Iowa.

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