Gov. Reynolds’ COVID approval ratings rise; IDPH reports new cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to grow

John Martinek/Little Village

A majority of Iowans approve of the job Kim Reynolds is doing as governor, according to a new Iowa Poll published by the Des Moines Register on Wednesday. A majority also approve of how the governor is handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The poll was published on the same day the Iowa Department of Public Health published its weekly update, which showed new cases of the virus, hospitalizations and COVID-19 deaths all increased in the state.

Seltzer & Co. surveyed 810 adults in Iowa for the Register and Mediacom. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points, according to the company.

In the poll, conducted Nov. 7-10, 51 percent of respondents said they approved of Reynolds’ overall job as governor, 43 percent disapproved and 6 percent said they weren’t sure. That’s a higher rating for Reynolds than she received in the first Iowa Poll of the year on her performance as governor. In that poll, conducted in March, 47 percent approved while 51 percent disapproved and three percent said they weren’t sure.

“Groups that give Reynolds her highest job approval ratings include fellow Republicans, at 88%; evangelicals, 76%; and rural Iowans, 69%,” according to the Register. “Sixty percent of parents of children under 18 also approve of her job performance; as do 60% of men; and 60% of respondents ages 35 to 54.”

The number of respondents who approve of Reynolds’ actions on COVID-19 also increased in this latest poll compared to March. In the new poll, 52 percent approved of her job managing the pandemic, while 44 percent disapproved and 4 said they were uncertain. In March, her approval number was 47 percent, with a majority of respondents — 51 percent — disapproving and 4 percent expressing no saying they didn’t know enough to have an opinion.

According to the CDC county-level COVID-19 case tracker, all 99 counties in Iowa are currently experiencing a high level of virus spread.

CDC county-level COVID-19 spread map for Iowa, Nov. 18, 2021.

In its weekly update on Wednesday, IDPH reported another 9,132 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in the previous seven days. That was an increase from last week’s update that reported 9,067 new cases.

The number of hospitalized patients with the virus also increased, going from 524 on Nov. 10 to 544 on Wednesday. There has only been one weekly IDPH update since Sept. 6 in which there were fewer than 500 hospitalized COVID-19 patients reported.

IDPH disclosed another 102 deaths from the virus, bringing Iowa’s COVID-19 death toll to 7,268.

Dr. James Merchant, the former director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Respiratory Disease Studies and the founding dean of the University of Iowa College of Public Health, estimated that approximately two out five of the COVID-19 deaths in Iowa as of Oct. 14 could have been prevented if Iowa had implemented the same basic virus mitigation measures as Minnesota.

Merchant made that estimate in an op-ed published by the Register on Oct. 24, two weeks before Selzer & Co. began surveying people for the latest Iowa Poll.

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