Anthony Fauci Loses Trust With Americans as Confidence in CDC Plummets—Poll

Conservative media attacks on the country's top infectious diseases expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, have eroded the confidence that Americans have in what he says about COVID, a poll has found.

The survey, by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center, also found that trust in coronavirus information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) dipped in January.

The poll of 1,656 adults between January 11 and 17 is a follow up to four previous surveys of the same respondents and had a 3.3 percent margin of error.

It found that confidence in whether Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), gave trustworthy pandemic advice, had fallen to 65 percent—down from 71 percent in April 2021, in what the poll described as a "statistically meaningful drop."

More than one-third (35 percent) said they weren't confident in Fauci, which was up from 29 percent over the same time frame.

Meanwhile, confidence in the CDC dropped 5 percentage points over the last two months, to 72 percent.

Trust in the CDC among Democrats fell to 89 percent this month, from 94 percent in April 2021. In the same time frame, the percentage of Democrats with confidence in Fauci went down from 92 percent to 88 percent, which the survey described as a "significant change."

Among Republican voters, support for the FDA also dropped, from 63 percent in November 2021, to 54 percent this month.

The survey concluded that those who viewed conservative and very conservative media, such as Fox News, Breitbart and Parler, "have significantly less confidence in Fauci, the CDC, and the FDA" compared with the overall sample of respondents.

Criticism on Conservative Media Outlets

Fauci has been the target of withering criticism on conservative media outlets for his criticism of his handling of the pandemic. In November on Fox News, he was compared to the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele and the Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

The CDC has also been attacked over its vaccination and masking guidance. In January, it was accused by the conservative media of misleading the public about the extent of COVID casualties, following comments by CDC director Rochelle Walensky.

APPC Director Kathleen Hall Jamieson said that although "overall confidence remains high" in Fauci and the CDC, the poll's results were "deeply concerning, because voices that speak for the best available science need to be trusted and heard as we navigate the pandemic."

Last week, a poll published by NBC News found that nearly half (44 percent) of Americans believed what their employers and schools said about the COVID pandemic more than the CDC. Newsweek has contacted the CDC for comment.

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci on Capitol Hill on January 11, 2022, in Washington, D.C. A January poll has shown that Americans' confidence in him has declined. Greg Nash/Getty