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Few Americans trust President Donald Trump when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey, and fewer than half of respondents believe the federal government is taking sufficient steps to combat the public health crisis.
An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Tuesday shows that only 37 percent of those polled have either “a good amount” or “a great deal” of trust in the the information they hear from the president about the coronavirus, while 60 percent say they do “not very much” or “not at all” trust Trump’s words on the subject.
Among those surveyed, the president’s trust ratings regarding the coronavirus rank lower than other prominent sources of information, including the news media, state and local governments, and public health experts. More Americans than do not disapprove of the way he is handling the pandemic, 49 percent to 44 percent, and his overall job approval rating rests at 43 percent.
The poll’s results come after the White House spent weeks downplaying the coronavirus threat to the United States, even as public health officials within the administration sounded alarms over its risk to the country and warned of its rapid rates of transmission.
Only recently has Trump adopted a more somber tone when discussing the crisis, acknowledging Tuesday that “this is a very bad one” and cautioning Americans that “we have an invisible enemy.”
The more dire rhetoric from the president was accompanied by a new series of increasingly stern guidelines from the administration, which recommended avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people; working or attending school from home whenever possible; and abstaining from eating or drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts.
It remains to be seen whether the latest measures will bolster public confidence in the administration’s ability to fight the coronavirus. Just 46 percent of Americans believe the federal government is doing enough to prevent the disease’s spread, down from 61 percent in February.
The NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll was conducted March 13-14, surveying 835 adults. Its margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.8 percentage points.