Poll: Most Americans Don’t Trust White House On Trump’s Health

Author image

Joe Walsh   Forbes U.S. Staff

Poll: Most Americans Don’t Trust White House On Trump’s Health

Photo: The White House Facebook

Almost seven in 10 Americans do not trust most of the information supplied by the White House on President Donald Trump’s coronavirus infection, according to a poll released Monday that shows skepticism about Trump’s medical status — and the White House’s handling of coronavirus more generally — as he prepares to end his three-day hospital stint.

KEY FACTS

- Some 69% of adults trust some or none of the White House’s official communications about Trump’s health, according to a CNN/SSRS poll conducted between Thursday and Sunday, with extra questions added after Trump confirmed that he tested positive Friday.

- Responses varied widely by political party: 65% of Republicans trust all or most of what they hear from the White House about Trump, compared to 6% of Democrats.

- Just 33% of Americans say the president handled his own Covid-19 case responsibly, following reports that Trump did not self-isolate after key White House advisor Hope Hicks exposed him to the virus, and 63% of respondents doubt this ordeal will change how he handles the pandemic more generally.

- If a vaccine is widely available at a low cost, 51% of Americans say they would try to get vaccinated, a 15-point decrease since May that could reflect fears about whether political pressure will lead to a vaccine being approved prematurely.

- Trump’s overall job approval stands at 40%, but just 37% of people approve of how Trump is handling the pandemic, which is consistent with other polls in recent months.

- Other recent polls have also shown that Americans hold Trump partly responsible for his own diagnosis, with 65% of adults telling Ipsos the president might not have caught the virus if he had taken it more seriously.

KEY BACKGROUND

Since Trump first tweeted that he and his wife, Melania, tested positive for the virus, the state of his health has been unclear. He arrived at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday afternoon, and doctors and White House staff offered mixed — and often contradictory — accounts of the president’s health. On Monday, ahead of Trump’s discharge from the hospital, key questions like the time of his most recent negative test and the results of his lung scans went unanswered. Trump has also faced accusations that he did not take appropriate precautions to protect his staff, attending a fundraiser after Hicks tested positive on Thursday and waving to supporters from an SUV driven by Secret Service personnel while he was still hospitalized Sunday.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

This poll arrives at a challenging time for Trump’s reelection bid. Opponent Joe Biden is maintaining a solid lead in national polls and in several critical battleground states, buoyed by low presidential job approval ratings and widespread voter frustration over Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

BIG NUMBER

47%. That’s the percentage of Americans who believe the worst is yet to come in the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, a four-point increase from last month, according to CNN’s poll. Most health experts agree that the outbreak is far from contained, despite Trump’s reassurances that the virus will suddenly disappear.

TANGENT

Some 59% of respondents told CNN the remaining three general election debates should still take place. A vice presidential debate is scheduled for Wednesday evening, but some health experts argue the debate should be postponed or cancelled, especially considering that Trump may have exposed Vice President Mike Pence to the virus.

Author image

Joe Walsh   Forbes U.S. Staff

I am a breaking news reporter at Forbes. Previously, I covered local news for the Boston Guardian, and I graduated from Tufts University in 2019.