Nationally, our trust in medical scientists, whose ranks include individuals qualified both to practice a particular area of medicine as well as research possible causes, has grown since the COVID-19 outbreak, but like most topics these days, it is split along partisan lines.
The growing confidence in medical scientists was mostly found to be among Democrats, according to Pew Research Center.
Let’s take a closer look:
Trust and confidence
Public confidence in medical scientists to act in the best interests of the public has gone up from 35 percent with a great deal of confidence before the outbreak to 43 percent in April.
Not only has confidence in medical scientists increased since COVID-19, but so has the public perception that medical doctors hold very high ethical standards.
In 2019 … 23 percent of respondents said medical scientists hold very high ethical standards.
In 2020 … 35 percent say the same.
The overall view of medical doctors and scientists has slipped slightly since 2019.
In 2019 …. 74 percent of respondents had a mostly positive view of medical doctors and 68 percent had mostly positive views of medical scientists.
In 2020 … 72 percent of respondents said they had a mostly positive view of medical doctors and 66 percent said they had a mostly positive view of medical research scientists.
Despite physicians such as Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx advising federal officials, there is a growing partisan fissure over the role these experts play in making policy and the risk of COVID-19 to public health.
53 … the percentage of respondents who lean Democratic or are Democrats have a great deal of confidence in medical scientists to act in the best interest of the public. That’s up from 37 percent in 2019.
Meanwhile, just 31 percent of respondents who lean Republican or are Republicans say they have a great deal of confidence in medical scientists to act in the best interest of the public. This is a 1 percent drop from 2019.
52 … the percentage of respondents who lean Democratic or are Democrats say they have a great deal of confidence in scientists. That is up from 43 percent in 2019.
27 … the percentage of respondents who lean Republican or are Republican who say they have a great deal of confidence in scientists. This remains unchanged from 2019.
Respondents on opposite ends of the political spectrum also felt differently about the policies and decisions made by state and federal government officials.
59 … the percentage of U.S adults who believe social distancing measures are helping a lot to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Democrats are 69 percent more likely to say this than Republicans (49 percent).
Respondents said that evidence from public health experts is having a great deal of influence on state policies (43 percent) while 26 percent said the same for federal policy.