WASHINGTON – Americans have faced upheaval over the past six weeks as the coronavirus spreads across the country, leading to shuttered schools, restaurants and businesses and confining people to their homes. In a crowded and fluctuating information environment, a new poll finds Americans using the news media and their state or local governments as their most regular sources.
But the poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds it is information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and people's own doctors that Americans trust most.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is not a regularly used or highly trusted source of information for most Americans.
Among the findings in the survey of American adults, conducted April 16-20:
— Overall, 6 in 10 Americans say they regularly get information about COVID-19 from the news media. Half listen to state and local governments on a regular basis. About another 4 in 10 often look to the CDC. Fewer — about 3 in 10 — go to Trump regularly, with roughly as many listening to the president occasionally.
— Personal networks are less frequent sources for many Americans, though majorities get information about the virus from them at least some of the time. Twenty-eight percent regularly look to friends and family, with 43% occasionally going to them for information. Personal doctors and health care providers are used regularly by 18% of Americans and occasionally by 36%.
— While the news media is the most frequented source of information about the virus, it is one of the least trusted. Only about a third say they have high trust in information about the virus from the news media. Roughly another third have a moderate amount of trust.
— Americans are especially likely to trust information about the coronavirus that comes from the CDC or from personal health care providers. Roughly two-thirds of Americans say they have a great deal or quite a bit of trust in information from each. About another quarter trust each moderately. State or local officials also are relatively highly trusted, with about half saying they trust that information a great deal or quite a bit and another third saying they do somewhat.
— Just 23% have high trust in information about the virus from Trump, with about as many saying they have some trust. Fifty-four percent have little to no trust in information from the president.
— About half of Republicans along with about 6 in 10 Democrats say they have high trust in information from state governments. Majorities in both groups say they have high trust in the CDC — Democrats somewhat more than Republicans.
— Republicans are far more likely to rely on and trust Trump for information about the virus. By comparison, Democrats are more likely to trust the news media.
— Three in 10 Americans say they use social media for coronavirus information regularly, with roughly the same share using it as a source on occasion. Just about 1 in 10 say they have high levels of trust in coronavirus information from social media; nearly two-thirds report having little to none.
The AP-NORC poll of 1,057 adults was conducted April 16-20 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
AP-NORC Center: http://www.apnorc.org/.