Americans Are Deeply Divided on Covid—But Distrust Biden, His Experts, and the Media

News Nation and Decision Desk HQ partnered to conduct a poll on Americans’ attitudes toward Covid and the government’s handling of the pandemic. It shows that the country remains deeply divided on many topics related to the pandemic. Nearly 80% report that they are at least somewhat concerned about Covid and future variants. Pluralities report that they are very concerned.

A plurality, 44%, also feels Covid restrictions are not strict enough. Because Covid policy varies significantly throughout the country, it is hard to understand what these participants think is lacking. However, 67% report wearing a mask in public indoor spaces always or most of the time, and 50.3% strongly support policies to require it. Americans are only slightly less fond of requiring proof of vaccination in public places. Approximately 66% somewhat support it, and 36.1% strongly support it. This is terrifying since almost 52% of those polled believe the pandemic will never end.

One has to wonder if those supporting vaccine mandates really want scenes like the one below all over the country. In an era of rising crime rates and a mild variant in omicron, is this where New York police should be spending their time? Depriving the unvaccinated–and possibly Covid recovered–of unlimited breadsticks?:

The only place Americans appear unified is in their distrust of key institutions. Scott Tranter, an adviser for Decision Desk HQ, told News Nation, “The population does not have a positive outlook on COVID [or] the economy, and it appears they blame Joe Biden.” Nearly 55 percent of respondents disapprove of the president’s handling of the pandemic, while 45 percent approve. The net approval on how Biden is handling the presidency is -13. Only 30.8% trust Dr. Anthony Fauci for information about Covid, and just under 50% trust federal health authorities like the CDC and FDA. A dismal 10.2% trust the Covid information coming from the news media.

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People seem to trust officials and experts closer to them at higher rates. While almost 30% think the federal, state, and local authorities communicated well about vaccines and boosters, a plurality, 40%, say neither did. When respondents expressed a preference, 19.3% said the state and local authorities did better, while 11% selected the federal government. And despite declining trust in health experts in the media and the government, 63.2% report trusting their own doctor.

When asked if they had received at least one dose of Covid vaccination, the results were in the ballpark with CDC numbers, with 73.9% saying yes. Nearly 50% report having a booster. News Nation’s write-up of the poll notes differences in booster uptake by race and age. Only 31% of black participants and 29% of those under 35 reported receiving a booster. The most boosted age bracket is Americans over 55 at 73%, and the rate declines in each younger age group.

While almost 80% report being at least somewhat concerned about Covid, nearly 92% say they are worried about inflation. When forced to pick what they believe is the biggest problem, 40.9% say Covid, while 45.4% choose inflation. When asked about their personal finances, 40% report being worse off than they were a year ago, and only 19.5% report they are better off. The lack of trust in Biden and his key advisors on Covid–plus a dim view of the economy–could be why the poll finds Republicans are +4.5% on a generic ballot.

Polls like this are the best argument for radical federalism. As President Trump noted many times, proximity equipped governors and mayors to best coordinate state and local Covid responses. They could also identify needs the federal government could help fulfill. In the early days of the pandemic, America saw that with the military building temporary hospitals at the behest of local leaders, a national effort to collect PPE purchases globally and distribute them, and an unprecedented effort to increase the number of ventilators manufactured nationally.

A system based on federalism that seemed to be working morphed into the media and Democrats demanding a single approach for a large, geographically, and ideologically diverse nation. The real lesson we should take from Covid is that a standard national approach will never work on most policy issues. The media and Democrats seemed to start embracing federalism during Trump’s presidency. Unfortunately, when they are in power, Democrats decide to California the whole country. They might want to consider the fact that could be why their hold on power never lasts.

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