Joe Biden has made tackling the COVID-19 pandemic one of the top priorities of his presidency. But a new survey suggests that many Americans are questioning his authority on the novel coronavirus as U.S. COVID deaths continue to top 2,000 a day.
More than half of those surveyed in the latest Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index poll — 55%, in fact — said they have little or no trust in the president to provide them with accurate information about the virus and pandemic, while 45% said they do trust him.
That’s a 180 from the honeymoon period following his inauguration in January, when 58% said they trusted Biden on COVID, compared with 42% who did not, as illustrated in this chart:
The survey noted that this slip spans the political spectrum, with trust in the commander-in-chief regarding COVID dropping 11 percentage points among Democrats, 17 points among independents and 10 points among Republicans over the past eight months.
Still, Democrats were much more likely to trust Biden on COVID-19 overall; 81% of Democrats said they trust him on COVID, compared with just 11% of Republicans, and 42% of independents.
“He won on COVID, he surfed the first six months on COVID, but he’s being challenged by it now because there’s not a clear resolution in sight,” said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. public affairs, in a statement.
It should be noted that Americans in the survey expressed growing distrust for several authority figures over the virus as the pandemic has dragged on into a second year. Trust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state governments hovers at just 64% and 50%, respectively. That’s not too surprising, considering the mixed messaging over whether to wear masks throughout the pandemic, as well as confusion over COVID vaccine booster shots, and Biden’s controversial COVID vaccine mandates for millions of U.S. workers.
And Biden’s predecessor didn’t fare much better. An Associated Press poll taken early in the pandemic last year found that only 23% of Americans had high levels of trust in what then President Donald Trump was saying about COVID-19.