Since Gov. Ned Lamont declared a public health emergency in March, he has been on camera almost every day – holding 70 press briefings on COVID-19. This week he plans to step back as the cases continue to drop and the economy opens up again.
But what has it done for his popularity?
“Two, three months ago everyday COVID was breaking, the world was changing and I really felt an obligation to give people the best real-time information about why we were doing, why we were doing it, what they can expect,” Lamont said.
Now – Lamont is curtailing the daily press briefings, opting to report information as necessary.
“This sort of puts an end of Lamont’s public crusade to give people information and give people advice on how to act during the pandemic,” Rich Hanley, an associate professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University, said.
Hanley said if there is a second wave that prompts another round of daily press conferences that might spark a sense of urgency amongst the public.
“I think that he’s approached every step of the pandemic very carefully and I really appreciate that he’s spoken with New York, Rhode Island, and New Jersey and they’ve all agreed upon this plan together,” Jennifer Diamond of West Hartford said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ended his daily press conferences last week. Both Cuomo and Lamont have seen their popularity soar during this time.
A Quinnipiac University poll in early May found Lamont received a 65% job approval rating, and a 78% approval rating for the handling of the virus response.
“I think voters are comparing him to President Trump and President Trump’s performance and they’re putting -- Gov. Ned Lamont stands out in sharp relief from that -- with his calm measured recitation of statistics and advice,” Hanley said.
“I think compared to other governors across the country he’s doing a lot better job. I think he’s really doing a good job of communicating with people and being open about it,” Steven Della-Giustiana said.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force just held its first briefing in weeks due to the resurgence of COVID-19 in several states, but President Trump was not present.
“I’m an educator just in terms of education he’s been calculated in taking his time to really engage with a bunch of people and figure hey this isn’t easy so how are we all going to do it and take into account kids mental health concerns and the safety and well-being of teachers and kids," Kate Dougherty said.