NewsNation Poll: Voters’ trust in Biden, health officials eroding


(NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden will address an American public Thursday that dislikes how he’s handled the pandemic, deeply distrusts him and his top health advisers and in its own way is moving on; they now think inflation is a bigger problem than COVID-19, according to new research by NewsNation.

This NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll of 1,000 registered voters, completed this week by Decision Desk HQ, also revealed this: More than half of the country thinks the pandemic will never end.

“What’s going on there is called COVID fatigue,” said Robert L. Murphy, a professor of infectious diseases at Northwestern University and the executive director of the Robert J. Havey, MD Institute for Global Health. Murphy did not help with the NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll, but reviewed its findings in advance for this article.

“People are just tired of COVID,” Murphy said. “They’re tired of living with it. They’re tired of the restrictions, they are tired of the problems, and they’re just basically numb to the idea of COVID. Many people have just turned it off.”

Scott Tranter, an adviser for Decision Desk HQ, said its poll suggests, “The population does not have a positive outlook on COVID (or) the economy and it appears they blame Joe Biden.”

Still, many Americans remain very worried about COVID-19. Nearly 80 percent said the virus concerns them and 78 percent worry about new variants, according to the NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll.

But even as Biden plans Thursday morning to discuss his administration’s response to the COVID-19 surge, he faces a very skeptical and frustrated public, according to the NewsNation research:

  • Nearly 55 percent of respondents disapprove of the president’s handling of the pandemic, while 45 percent approve.
  • Almost 52 percent of voters think the pandemic will never end, while 41 percent believe it will end in six months to a year. Seven percent think the pandemic is already over.
  • Americans are more concerned about inflation than COVID-19: 45 percent to 41 percent, respectively.

In addition, the administration has a trust problem. More than 63 percent of respondents trust their doctors and 50 percent trust federal health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Food & Drug Administration.

But when asked who they trusted, only 31 percent chose Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease; and 16 percent chose Biden, according to the NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll.

In addition, only 10 percent trust information from the news media.

Decision Desk HQ conducted the research on behalf of NewsNation this week. The poll of more than 1,000 registered voters had a margin of error of about 3.1 percent.

The NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll mirrored several recent polls about the pandemic, though it was in some cases different from surveys with larger sample sizes. For example, despite some skepticism, Fauci achieved a 52 percent job approval rating in a December 2021 Gallup poll. His approval was the second-highest of the U.S. leaders included in the poll. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell received a 53 percent approval rating.

However, Biden’s approval rating dropped to 33 percent, his lowest mark yet, in a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

Despite NewsNation research that shows voters are struggling to envision an end to the pandemic, scientists are seeing signals that the omicron wave may have peaked in Britain and is about to do the same in the U.S. At that point, cases may start dropping off dramatically, scientists have said.

“Every pandemic comes to an end, and in a relatively short period of time, all things considered,” said Murphy, from Northwestern University.

The question remains: How much damage has been done in the interim? According to Murphy, the United States is better suited to face the pandemic now, thanks to the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines and testing capacity.

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