Less Than 40 Percent of Americans Trust What Donald Trump Says About Coronavirus, New Poll Shows

A minority of Americans believe they can trust what President Donald Trump says about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that is spreading across the county, new polling has shown.

Only 37 percent of respondents told NPR, PBS NewsHour and Marist that they have "a great deal" or "a good amount" of trust in the information they hear from Trump about the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, 60 percent said they were "not very" trusting of what the president has been saying, or "not at all" trusting.

Democrats were the most likely to mistrust the president, according to the poll, with only 8 percent believing they could believe information coming from Trump. A majority (62 percent) of independents said they did not trust what Trump has been saying as well. But 74 percent of Republicans felt that Trump has been trustworthy during the pandemic crisis.

There is significantly higher trust in state and local governments, with majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents saying they trusted these institutions to provide them with accurate information. Public health experts were trusted even more, with 84 percent of respondents saying they believed the information they shared.

Donald Trump press conference
A reporter wearing a latex glove raises his hand to ask President Donald Trump a question during coronavirus briefing at the White House on March 16 in Washington, D.C. Win McNamee/Getty

Most Americans are also not satisfied with the federal government's response to the crisis. Only 46 percent of respondents said the federal government was doing enough to address the pandemic – a drop of 15 points since the survey was conducted in February.

The results of the new poll aligned with another recent survey conducted by Yahoo News and YouGov, which found that 53 percent of respondents did not have faith in Trump to tell the truth about the threat of coronavirus. Of those polled, an additional 14 percent said they were "not sure" if they could trust the president or not.

Trump has faced significant criticism from health experts and Democratic lawmakers for his administration's handling of the outbreak. The president has repeatedly shared information that was at odds with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as with that put forward by other health experts. Last Monday, Trump appeared to downplay the threat with a tweet comparing coronavirus inaccurately to the common flu.

"So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on," he tweeted. "At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!"

Health experts estimate that coronavirus is at least 10 times more deadly than the common flu. But a week later, by Monday of this week, the president had changed his tune.

"This is a bad one. This is a very bad one," the president said during a press conference. He noted that if everything goes well, the threat of the pandemic will still likely continue until July or August. He also issued guidelines to "avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people," and to avoid "eating or drinking in bars, restaurants and food courts."

Meanwhile, many states and cities across the country have now implemented mandatory social distancing policies, requiring bars, restaurants, gyms, cinemas, schools and museums to shutter their doors for the next few weeks in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

"We have barely started testing so we have no sense of how many people in the general population actually are carrying the virus and spreading it unknowingly. If we could just get people to understand the important value of such a simple activity like staying at home, that's going to be the priority for now," Dr. Jake Deutsch, co-founder and clinical director of Cure Urgent Care Centers and Specialty Infusion, told Newsweek.

"I want our country to be a model for how we dealt with this virus and it's going to take everybody's effort for that to happen," Deutsch said.