Oct 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Axios-Ipsos poll: Trump's COVID hasn't shaken America's views

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±5.1% margin of error; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Some Americans say they're more likely to wear masks or social distance in the aftermath of President Trump's coronavirus diagnosis, but there's no evidence in any big shift in attitudes toward Trump himself, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Between the lines: The early polling numbers, taken right after the news broke that Trump had tested positive, suggest that the public's attitudes toward Trump are so deeply settled that even the shock of an event like this can't shake them.

By the numbers: The poll found that 21% of the respondents said they'd be more likely to wear a mask in the wake of the Trump news, including 15% who said they'd be much more likely to do so.

  • Likewise, 21% said they'd be more likely to keep a distance of six feet from other people, with 14% saying they're more likely to do so.
  • Just 12% said they'd be more likely to wear gloves.

But the numbers were basically a wash as to whether people would trust Trump more or less to provide accurate information on the coronavirus — and six out of 10 said the news wouldn't change their assessment of him at all.

  • It's not as if no one had heard the news. 85% of the respondents said they were familiar with the news, and 65% said they were very familiar with it.

What they're saying: "America is so polarized and this is so crystallized, there's no budging things," said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs. "This isn't about persuading anyone anymore. Now it's just about getting people out to the polls."

  • The one thing that could have a bigger impact on people's attitudes, Young said, is "if his health condition takes a turn for the worse."
  • These numbers were based on a smaller sample than the rest of the poll — just 405 people — because the news broke after the poll was already under way.
  • Therefore, it's best to read the numbers as evidence of the general direction of people's reactions to the Trump news rather than to take them as exact numbers, according to Ipsos polling experts.

The big picture: Week 27 of our national survey also found evidence that Americans will be more willing to take a COVID vaccine after it's been on the market for a few months and appears to have had no bad effects on people who have taken it.

  • In the full sample, just 30% said they'd be likely to get the first-generation vaccine as soon as it's available, with 69% saying they're not likely to take it that soon.
  • But 55% said they'd be likely to get it after it has been on the market for a few months (44% not likely), and 65% said they'd be likely to get it after it has been proven safe and effective by public health officials (34% not likely).
  • Just 18% said they'd be likely to take it if it's released before the November presidential election. 82% said they're not likely to do that.

Of note: The survey found that many Americans will be nervous about spending more time in indoor public places during the winter due to the COVID risk.

  • 32% of respondents said it would be a large risk to spend more time inside public places as the weather turns colder, while 36% said it would be a moderate risk.
  • Just 23% said it would be a small risk, while 8% said it would present no risk.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted Oct. 1–5 by Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,004 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error for the full sample is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
  • The margin of error for those who answered the survey after Trump's COVID diagnosis on Oct. 2 is plus or minus 5.1 percentage points.
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