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Americans Don’t Trust What Trump Says About Coronavirus, Poll Finds

Alison Durkee, Forbes Staff, Business, Jul 17, 2020

As President Donald Trump continues to push school reopenings while Covid-19 cases surge, nearly two-thirds of Americans say they distrust what the president has to say about the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new ABC/Washington Post poll released Friday.

President Donald Trump speaks at podium
President Donald Trump speaks at the White House on July 16, 2020. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty … [+] Getty Images

KEY FACTS

64% of Americans distrust what Trump says about the Covid-19 pandemic—including 46% who say they don’t trust him “at all”—while only 34% trust what he says.

Americans in counties with the most cases of Covid-19 per capita have the least trust in Trump, with only 24% in those counties trusting what he says, though a majority of Republicans—71%—still trust the president.

Americans broadly disapprove of Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic; 60% disapprove and only 38% approve, as compared with 53% disapproval and 46% approval in May.

79% of total respondents said they wear a mask “all/some of the time,” including 38% of Republicans and 70% of Democrats.

Mask-wearing directly correlated with how much a respondent trusted the president: Only 41% of those who trust Trump regularly wear a mask, as compared with 66% of those who distrust him.

Only 33% of respondents prioritize the economy over controlling Covid-19—as Trump has pushed—while 63% want to “control the spread, even if it hurts [the] economy.”

Key Background

The ABC/Post poll is part of a broader polling trend showing that more Americans disapprove of Trump’s response to the pandemic now than at any point since it began.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found 62% disapproval and 32% approval of Trump’s coronavirus response, marking the lowest approval rating since polling began in March.

FiveThirtyEight’s analysis of polling on Trump’s coronavirus response, similarly, finds that 58% of voters currently disapprove of his response on average and only 38.1% approve—with the margin between his approval and disapproval ratings steadily growing as coronavirus cases surge.

Despite his declining poll numbers, however, Trump and his administration have still continued to downplay the pandemic and failed to launch a substantial federal response.

Trump and the White House have continued to push for full school reopenings in recent days despite the virus’s spread—and broad disapproval from teachers, pediatricians and the American public—and the president was criticized for retweeting a post suggesting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is “lying” about the pandemic as his administration tried to distance itself from infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Public health experts have also criticized the White House’s directive this week for hospitals to bypass the CDC and directly send their data on Covid-19 patients to the Department of Health and Human Services, saying the move will cause widespread confusion and disruption while stoking fears that the Trump administration is sidelining the CDC.

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