Americans' trust in in leaders, institutions in handling of COVID-19 erodes: survey


  • World
  • Friday, 18 Sep 2020

CHICAGO, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- A latest survey of more than 21,000 individuals between Aug. 7 to 26 shows that Americans' public trust for 15 government institutions and leaders' ability to manage the COVID-19 pandemic gradually eroded between late April and August, according to a news release posted on the website of Northwestern University (NU) on Wednesday.

Trust in President Donald Trump's management of the COVID-19 crisis declined from 50 percent in late April to 43 percent in August, though it has slightly increased by two points since July.

The erosion of trust has implications for whether Americans intend to take a COVID-19 vaccine when it's available. Just under 6 in 10 people or 59 percent surveyed said they would get a COVID-19 vaccination, a seven-point decline from 66 percent in late July.

The differences in who intends to vaccinate are closely related to trust in institutions and leaders. People who said they trusted President Trump had the lowest intention of seeking a COVID-19 vaccination. On the other side, 70 percent of those who trusted the media, 68 percent of those who trusted in social media platforms, and 68 percent of those who expressed trust in Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said they would vaccinate.

Public trust in institutions also varies by political party and race. While there was a downward trend in trust from April to July among Democrats, Republicans and Independents for the White House and President Trump, Republicans and Independent's trust of both institutions remained fairly stable from July to August. Democrats had a 10-point higher level of trust in the White House, which is 24 percent, than in the president, 14 percent.

Across racial groups, levels of trust in institutions remained stable. Black respondents had the lowest levels of trust in the president, 17 percent, the White House, 27 percent and police, 42 percent compared to White respondents who had the highest levels of trust of 51 percent, 52 percent and 72 percent, respectively, for these institutions. When it comes to the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, it is reversed. Biden had the highest level of trust among Black respondents, 71 percent, and the lowest among White respondents, 44 percent.

Earlier survey results released in August suggested racial differences in Americans' willingness to vaccinate. While 67 percent of White, 71 percent of Hispanic and 77 percent of Asian American respondents said they were likely to vaccinate, just 52 percent of African American respondents said the same.

Other findings of the survey are: scientists and medical experts have the highest levels of public trust of any institution, which have remained high over 85 percent from April through August; trust in state and city governments' handling of the pandemic has steadily declined across all three political groups since April; and in states, the willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccination ranges from a low of 43 percent in Mississippi to a high of 71 percent in Washington.

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