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Data: Axios/Ipsos survey of 1,100 U.S. adults, Aug. 28-31, 2020; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Most Americans think the federal government is making the coronavirus pandemic worse, according to the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This is a pretty searing indictment of the federal response — not only that it has not helped, but that it’s part of the problem.

Between the lines: There’s a stark partisan divide here.

  • 74% of Republicans say the federal government is making things better, while 80% Democrats say the federal government is making things worse.
  • Most independents (68%) also say the government is making things worse.

Overall trust in the federal government hasn’t changed much over the past few weeks, but it’s far below the levels we measured in the spring.

  • When the Axios-Ipsos index launched in late March, more than half of Americans said they trusted the federal government to look out for their best interests. This week, it’s at just 32%, and has been stuck in the low 30s for months.
  • Americans continue to trust Joe Biden more than Donald Trump to give them accurate information about the virus, though neither breaks 50%.

Yes, but: Despite that lack of faith in the federal government, most Americans are optimistic that this will all be in better shape relatively soon.

  • 57% said they’re somewhat or very hopeful that the U.S. will get the pandemic under control within the next six months, while 43% were not too hopeful or not hopeful at all.
  • More educated respondents — those with at least some college — were somewhat less hopeful about a quick turnaround, as were Black and Hispanic respondents.
  • But partisanship was, yet again, the main dividing line: 82% of Republicans and 42% of Democrats were hopeful that things would be under control in six months.

Reality check: It’s almost impossible to predict where the U.S. will be in February.

  • There’s a chance that at least some people might be receiving a vaccine by then, though that’s by no means a sure thing and it’s not realistic to expect widespread vaccination anywhere near that early.
  • On the other hand, flu season and cold weather pushing people back indoors both threaten to make the pandemic worse.
  • We’ve not managed to control the pandemic in the six months we’ve been doing this so far, and it’s notable that Black and Hispanic people — who have borne the brunt of that failure — are less optimistic than white respondents about the next six months.

METHODOLOGY: This survey was conducted Aug. 28-31, among a nationally representative sample of 1,100 adults. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points.

Go deeper

Dec 9, 2020 - Health

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine data hacked from European Medicines Agency breach

A nurse in London prepares a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 8. Photo: Frank Augstein/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

BioNTech and Pfizer announced Wednesday the European Medicines Agency was targeted by a cyberattack and regulatory documents related to their coronavirus vaccine submission were accessed.

Why it matters: The EMA is currently working to authorize coronavirus vaccines for use in European Union member states, and said it is launching an investigation into the attack. The hack is the latest in a series of attacks and warnings about cyber threats against vaccine-producers and public health agencies.

Dec 9, 2020 - Health

Pennsylvania governor tests positive for coronavirus

Gov. Tom Wolf at a press conference on Oct. 1. Photo: Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group/Daily Local News via Getty Images

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), 72, tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, and is experiencing no symptoms as he self-isolates, he tweeted Wednesday.

The big picture: Current coronavirus hospitalizations and cases are skyrocketing in Pennsylvania, as well as in many states across the U.S., per the COVID Tracking Project. Wolf tweeted on Tuesday that "hospitalizations are reaching critical levels" in his state.

Janet Yellen confirmed as Treasury secretary

Janet Yellen. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Senate voted 84-15 to confirm Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary on Monday.

Why it matters: Yellen is the first woman to serve as Treasury secretary, a Cabinet position that will be crucial in helping steer the country out of the pandemic-induced economic crisis.