Americans trust medical experts , but new poll reveals partisan split | The Numbers Racket

Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies before a U.S. Senate panel on Tuesday.

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. 

Partisanship

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. 

Pew Research Center Screen Capture

Policy

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. 

Cassie Miller
A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.