In interviews, many said they initially backed Mr. Trump because he was a businessman, not a politician. In particular, he was not Hillary Clinton. But they have soured on his handling of the presidency. Several mentioned his divisive style and his firing of officials who disagreed with him, and especially his response to the coronavirus and to the unrest in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in police custody.
Not all of them are ready to back Joe Biden, but they no longer entertain the possibility of backing the president.
Over all, 78 percent of respondents in battleground states who said they wouldn’t vote for Mr. Trump again disapproved of his handling of the pandemic.
John Crilly, 55, a retired commercial diver in Reeders, Pa., said he voted for Mr. Trump “because the other option was Hillary Clinton.”
“What changed my mind? 120,000 deaths,” he said. “He refused to realize, ‘Oh my god, there’s a virus coming our way; shouldn’t we do something, guys?’ Covid was the turning point. It’s the thing that touches home with everybody.”
He plans to vote for a local write-in candidate instead of Mr. Biden, who he worries is too old.
Coronavirus also changed the mind of Ariel Oakley, 29, who works in human resources in Grand Rapids, Mich. “With coronavirus, even just watching the press conferences, having him come out and say it’s all fake,” she said. “I have family who have unfortunately passed away from it.”
It made her wonder how often he hadn’t told the truth before, she said. She plans to vote for Mr. Biden.