FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One as he departs Washington for travel to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., May 27, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Public approval of President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic remained steady this week as the number of U.S. deaths from the illness surpassed 100,000, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.

Asked to rate Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, 41% of Americans approved and 53% disapproved, about the same as last week but down significantly from late March when Americans approved of Trump’s response to the pandemic by a small margin.

Earlier this year, Trump downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 1.7 million people in the United States since the first reported case in late January.

Trump’s performance in office received similar ratings, with 41% of U.S. adults approving and 54% disapproving. The president’s overall popularity has been about the same for more than a year.

Trump’s likely Democratic opponent in the Nov. 3 election, former Vice President Joe Biden, has a higher favorability with registered voters despite a slight dip from last week. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has a six-point net lead in support over Trump, down about three points from last week.

Trump has been widely criticized for the federal government’s response to the pandemic, which has battered the economy and led more than 38 million Americans to file for unemployment benefits.

The president has accused Democratic governors — without any evidence — of keeping states locked down to damage the economy and hurt his chances in the November election.

Some states have begun to relax stay-at-home guidelines while health experts warn that ending the orders too early or without sufficient precautions could cause a second deadly wave of the virus.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English, throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 4,429 American adults, including 3,732 who identified as registered voters. It had a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Reporting by Grant Smith in Jersey City, N.J.; Editing by Leslie Adler

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