On Covid, Americans can be stingy with their trust

WASHINGTON – The Covid-19 pandemic has dragged on more than 20 months of uncertainty. Through mask missions and vaccine debates, Americans have developed a complex and somewhat surprising set of voices they believe about, according to the latest NBC News poll. this virus.

The poll asked a simple question, “In general, do you trust what _____ has been said about the coronavirus?” and then put a bunch of possibilities into that empty space.

Through all the names and groups mentioned, one thing emerges in the data: Americans are more likely to trust people they know directly or with whom they have direct contact. For example, the highest-ranked group in the poll on this question is “your employer”.

Overall, nearly 6 out of 10 employed Americans said they trust what they hear about Covid from their employer.

And, in a country where partisan divisions exist on almost everything, there is at least some agreement on this point. About 70% of Democrats said they trusted their employer about the virus, and 53% of Republicans said the same. Independents are a bit more skeptical, with just 40% saying they trust their employer on Covid, but that number is still much higher than the 25% saying they don’t trust them.

Among the parents, many of whom have struggled to balance life and childcare under Covid, they also trust what their local schools say. More than half of all parents said they trust their children’s schools about the virus, and that number is 50% or more among Democrats and Republicans.

Compare those numbers with the confidence numbers given to the top pandemic experts in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Overall, 44% of those surveyed said they trust the CDC about the virus, while 43% say they don’t trust the agency.

And here the familiar partisan divide is clear. Nearly 70% of Democrats said they trust the CDC, while only 22% of Republicans said they do. Independent members are in the middle, with 37% saying they trust the CDC.

There are a number of factors that can lead to that split. Democrats might see the CDC as an arm of the executive branch of the government they control, while Republicans might see the opposite. And Republicans generally seem more skeptical of the dangers of Covid and may not accept the CDC’s handling of the pandemic.

Outside of partisanship, however, those numbers paint a remarkable picture. In general, the public tends to trust non-experts who employ them and those who teach their children more than they trust the government agency that is researching the virus.

Critics may note that CDC guidance has changed at times since March 2020, but some of that is bound to happen as the pandemic changes and scientists learn more about it. this virus. It is possible that people often trust employers or local schools more because they feel they are in the same boat, trying to navigate through unknown and sometimes unclear territories. Nevertheless, the gap between reliance on non-expert and expert sources of information is substantial.

The poll also revealed some notable differences of opinion for two people in the White House who have responded to the pandemic, President Joe Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump.

The numbers for Biden follow a well-known pattern.

Overall, 37% of respondents said they trusted what Biden had to say about the virus. But the numbers change through a partisan lens. The majority of Democrats, 73%, say they trust what the president has to say. Among Republicans, only 8 percent trust Biden. And the numbers for independents are between those two numbers, but very much at the low end, with just 21% trusting the president.

Those numbers aren’t beyond the typical assessment of political leaders in both parties, especially when considering the struggles the nation has experienced with Covid over the past year. The pro-factions and independent parties were not satisfied.

But when the question turns to Trump, there is a significant difference in trusting what he has said about the virus.

The total approval rating for Trump is quite low, only 21%. And the number for Democrats is predicted in the vault, at 4%, while the figure for independents is not much higher at 13%. However, the numbers for GOP respondents were unexpected. Only 39% of Republicans say they trust what Trump has said about the virus.

To be fair, that’s much higher than the number of Republicans who say they can’t believe what he says, 25%, but it still doesn’t match the widespread support for Trump in the presidential election. number of Republicans when he was president.

And those low numbers aren’t just among Republicans. Even among those who say they voted for Trump in 2020, only 42 percent say they trust him because of the virus. That’s a pretty remarkable number, and it can also be a revealing one.

The pandemic has challenged the nation on multiple fronts for more than 20 months, disrupting the economy as well as the health care and education systems.

But the areas of agreement in this poll, based on trust by local sources and distrust of Trump, suggest something unusual recently: slivers of bipartisan consensus party on a serious matter. In the world of politics in 2022, that could be seen as a positive sign.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/who-do-americans-trust-covid-answer-complicated-n1287895 On Covid, Americans can be stingy with their trust

Jake Nichol

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