Diana Marszalek 12 Mar 2021 // 2:20PM GMT
NEW YORK — A year into the Covid pandemic, the majority of Americans are still highly concerned about the coronavirus, and have little trust in institutions responding effectively, a new Edelman Trust Barometer poll shows.
The 2,500-person poll, which found big differences along political lines, finds concern about Covid-19, and, therefore, taking part in daily activities, runs high among 72% of Americans, which is two points higher than it was a year ago.
There are wide differences among demographic groups including Asian Americans (86%), Blacks (79%), LatinX (75%) and whites (69%). Biden voters (85%) are more concerned than Trump voters (54%). Women and men are equally concerned, at 72%.
In turn, 67% of respondents said they are still operating in “pandemic survival mode,” while waiting for the situation to improve. The biggest discrepancy on the topic among demographic groups is between Biden voters (79%) and Trump voters (47%). Adults 55-plus are the second largest demographic group in survival mode (76%), while those aged 18-34 are the least concerned (61%).
78% of Democrats are still in a pandemic mindset, with only 22% believing it is behind us; 51% of Republicans say they are still in a pandemic mindset with 49% believing we are over the worst.
At the same time, Americans are losing faith that institutions are equipped to respond effectively. In the last year, Americans have lost trust in the range of healthcare, government, business, educational and nonprofit groups. Only trust in pharmaceutical companies is up; 57% of respondents said they have trust in pharma’s ability to handle the crisis, eight points higher than last year.
Respondents consider doctors and hospitals the best equipped to respond to the pandemic (78%), and NGOs the least trustworthy (37%).
Employers ranked the second most trusted institution, backed by 68% of poll participants.
When it comes to business, 69% believe employees should decide for themselves whether to get vaccinated, while 21% say companies should require all employees to get vaccinated. 81% want their employer to update information related to the pandemic and the Covid-19 vaccines weekly or more (77% of Trump voters and 85% of Biden voters agree).
Most people are in favor of a conservative approach to re-opening, albeit big differences along ideological lines: 60% say the government’s highest priority should be saving as many lives as possible even it means the economy will sustain more damage and recover more slowly; 40% believe we are approaching the point where it is more important for government to save jobs and restart the economy than to take every precaution to keep people safe.
60% are not in favor of forcing people back to the workplace before they are ready (48% of Trump voters versus 68% of Biden voters). There is no consensus on who should lead on getting people back to work.
Americans, however, are warming up to the idea of getting vaccinated, the poll found.
Vaccine hesitancy is decreasing, with 59% of respondents willing to get vaccinated as soon as possible, up from 33% in January. 72%, a jump of 13 points, are willing to get vaccinated within the next year (64% of Trump voters versus 83% of Biden voters).
Nearly three quarters (72%) say vaccines currently available are safe and effective for people like me (58% Trump voters and 75% Biden voters).
When it comes to actually being vaccinated, however, more than one in three (35%) say they do not have the information they need to decide whether or not it is safe and worthwhile to get vaccinated (39% Trump voters and 33% Biden voters).
Doctors (76%) and scientists (70%) are most trusted to tell the truth about vaccines, followed by public health officials (63%) and doctors (62%).