Sep 29, 2020 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans won't take Trump's word on vaccine

Data: Axios/Ipsos survey; Note: Margin of error for the total sample is ±3.2%; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Axios/Ipsos survey; Note: Margin of error for the total sample is ±3.2%; Chart: Axios Visuals

Barely two in 10 Americans would take a first-generation coronavirus vaccine if President Trump told them it was safe — one of several new measures of his sinking credibility in the latest wave of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Details: Given eight scenarios and asked how likely they were to try the vaccine in each case, respondents said they'd be most inclined if their doctor vouched for its safety (62%), followed by insurance covering the full cost (56%) or the FDA saying it's safe (54%).

  • Acting on Trump's assurances came in dead last as an option (19%).
  • People said they'd be more likely to take it if they had to pay $100 out of pocket or visit a hospital to get it.

The big picture: With just five weeks left in the election, Week 26 of our national survey offers additional signs that trust in the president and his administration are continuing to fall over the handling of the pandemic.

  • Just 32% said they trust the federal government to provide them with accurate information about COVID-19, down four percentage points from a week ago and a new low for the index.
  • Trust in the White House fell to 28%, and trust in Trump himself fell to 27% — also new lows.
  • Trust in Joe Biden is higher, but not exactly a vote of confidence: 47% of respondents said they trust him, consistent with past weeks.

What they're saying: "You don't want to be the least credible on one of the primary issues of the day," said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs.

  • This week's findings show that people still prioritize science over politics when it comes to putting something in their bodies — but Young said the depths of Trump's measures point to something more.
  • "Not only is he not an expert, but he's undermined his own credibility" in the way that "he's flip-flopped and twisted and spun things when it comes to the science around the virus."

By the numbers: Republicans were the least likely to act on their doctor's word (56%) and the most likely to follow Trump's (40%).

  • Just 9% of Democrats and 15% independents said they'd be likely to take the first-generation vaccine if Trump said it was safe.
  • Just 4% of Black respondents and 16% of Hispanic respondents said they'd act on that cue from Trump, compared with 23% of white respondents.
  • Overall, men were more willing than women to say they'd try a first-generation vaccine.

What we're watching: At least for now, Americans indicate they're willing to put others' needs ahead of their own when it comes to a vaccine — or perhaps they're content to let others serve as a first test.

  • In this week's survey, respondents were asked on a scale of one to seven to rank how important it was for various groups in society to be able to take the first-generation vaccine.
  • They prioritized health care workers, followed by residents of nursing homes or assisted living facilities, people over 65 and teachers.
  • They placed themselves at the bottom of the list in terms of who should get it first, along with people younger than 30.
  • Politicians were toward the bottom on people's rankings of whose access was most important to protect — and led the rankings for whose access should be least important.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted Sept. 24–27 by Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,075 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ± 3.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
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