May 21, 2020 - Science

The partisan divide of trust in scientists

A bar chart illustrating the data
Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

Overall trust in scientists has grown in the U.S. over the past year, but that is driven by a partisan gap, according to a Pew Research Center survey released today.

By the numbers: 53% of Democrats polled in late April reported a "great deal of confidence in medical scientists to act in the public interests," compared to 37% in 2019.

  • The percentage of Republicans who said the same held steady from last year (32%) to this year (31%).

What they're saying: When asked to rate how well medical experts understand who is most at risk for serious illness from the coronavirus, about one-third of respondents said experts understand the issue very well and 52% said fairly well.

  • 23% of people in the survey said public health experts understand very well how to control the spread of the virus.
  • More Democrats gave a high rating to experts than Republicans, especially when it came to the question of social distancing: 31% of Democrats vs. 15% of Republicans.
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