MADISON — Lost in the breathless coverage of last week’s Marquette Law School Poll on the presidential race are Gov. Tony Evers' sinking approval numbers — led in part by declining support for his handling of the pandemic.
The Democrat’s approval rating in the latest Marquette poll was 50 percent, with 43 percent disapproving of the governor’s job performance. While still above water, Evers has seen a 15 percentage point decline in his approval numbers since March — the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.
In the poll taken between March 24-29, right after Evers issued his Safer-at-Home state-wide lockdown order, his approval rating was at a whopping 65 percent, with 28 percent disapproving. It dropped to 51 percent at the end of August, and rose slightly to 52 percent in last month’s poll.
Evers’ handling of the virus has plummeted from 76 percent in March to 52 percent approval in last week’s poll. His disapproval numbers over the period have soared from 17 percent to 45 percent.
He’s faring better than the Republican-controlled Legislature, which was at 36 percent approval in its handling of the coronavirus, and 50 percent disapproval.
The governor’s declining support over the period, pundits say, has much to do with “COVID fatigue,” and COVID fear fatigue certainly is playing a role.
A piece late last month in The Conversation notes the struggles many Americans have had maintaining the social-distance guidelines and strict public health orders pushed by governments. It’s like sticking to a weight-loss or smoking-cessation plan, the story asserts. There’s a lot of relapse built in.
“(F)ewer in the U.S. are reporting the fear that triggered all those germ-avoiding actions in the spring,” the author states.
Perhaps that’s because, while COVID-19 cases are soaring and hospitalization rates are up, the vast majority of people who get the virus survive the virus. Many don’t even know they have the virus.
“For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a few weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including life-threatening pneumonia,” The Associated Press has reported.
No doubt COVID-19 has mercilessly hit the most vulnerable populations. But after eight months of liberty-restraining policies more and more Americans are finding the fear doesn’t match the reaction. With daily reports of the serious health side effects related to lockdowns and public gathering restrictions, many see the government’s cure as worse than the disease.
“The mainstream media has endlessly hyped only the medical side of COVID-19, with doctors like Anthony Fauci, an immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who serves on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, saying everything could be locked down — again,” Joseph Curl wrote last month in the Washington Times.
“But few news outlets have featured experts to talk about the fallout from shutting down the economy for the last six months, closing schools, retail stores, restaurants, bars, and live music venues.”
Wisconsinites are feeling the impacts of not only isolation and quarantine public health policies, but the anxiety from the politicians and bureaucrats who are selling the fear. And they are losing faith in their leadership.