A new Axios/Ipsos poll finds that 60% of Americans believe the federal government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic has made the country’s recovery from it worse, as the Trump administration has come under scrutiny in recent days for new decisions around coronavirus testing and treatment.
80% of Democrats and 68% of Independents believe the federal government is making things worse, as compared with only 25% of Republicans.
Only 32% say they trust the federal government “to look out for their best interests”—a number that Axios notes has been largely unchanged in recent months, but marks a vast drop from late March when slightly more than half trusted the government.
A slim majority—57%—are nevertheless “very or somewhat” hopeful that the government can get the virus under control within the next six months, including 82% of Republicans, 53% of Independents, and 42% of Democrats.
The polling, conducted Aug. 28-31, came as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came under fire for weakening their guidelines for Covid-19 testing to say asymptomatic people who have been exposed don’t need to be tested—a decision that was reportedly finalized when Dr. Anthony Fauci was in surgery and has now been partially walked back.
The government also faced scrutiny for its emergency authorization of convalescent plasma to treat Covid-19, as President Donald Trump and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn were criticized for overstating the treatment’s benefits.
The Washington Post reported Monday that new White House medical adviser Scott Atlas—a former frequent Fox News guest who does not have a background in infectious diseases—has been pushing the government to undertake a herd immunity strategy, which has been denounced by public health experts and epidemiologists.
The Axios/Ipsos poll is in line with past polling that has shown widespread distrust and disapproval of the federal government’s response to the pandemic, as the Trump administration has repeatedly downplayed the virus and failed to implement a national strategy regarding lockdown measures or a national mask mandate. A CNN poll earlier in August found that 68% of Americans are “embarrassed” by the country’s Covid-19 response, and Americans have repeatedly said they do not trust what Trump personally says about the coronavirus. A Pew Research survey released in August found that only 47% of Americans say their government has done a “good job” in handling the coronavirus; out of 14 countries surveyed, only the United Kingdom (with 46%) had a lower approval rating of its government’s pandemic response.