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Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±3.3% margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

Large shares of women, seniors and independents now say they're less likely to trust President Trump for accurate information about COVID-19 since he caught it himself, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: Week 28 of our national survey has most Americans rejecting ideas that Trump has floated around hydroxychloriquine as a virus treatment, how herd immunity works or any imminent availability of a vaccine.

  • Eight in 10 fear local cases will rise and force new lockdowns and business closures.
  • Three-fourths of respondents say attending campaign rallies is risky.
  • That's true for majorities of Republicans (54%) as well as independents (79%) and especially Democrats (93%) — and it suggests that Joe Biden's decision to scrap large events to protect the public and himself doesn't carry much political risk.

Why it matters: Trump can ill afford to lose more women, seniors or independents with two weeks until the end of the election, according to national and battleground state polls.

  • The new findings reflect how the science around coronavirus is unifying Democrats but a wedge for Republicans — and how Trump's own messaging has painted him into a corner where he must rely more and more on his base to pick up the slack for others he's alienated.

What they're saying: “It makes it very hard for Donald Trump to steer public opinion about the pandemic," said pollster Chris Jackson, senior vice president for Ipsos Public Affairs.

  • "It’s very hard for him to control the debate about COVID in any way because people have such little trust in what he says.”

By the numbers: Over the past two weeks, public opinion has turned more sharply against Trump's trustworthiness on information about the virus, from a 6 percentage point gap to 21.

  • 37% of overall respondents in the most recent survey say his diagnosis makes them less likely to trust him, while 16% say they're more likely to trust him and the rest are unchanged.
  • In the Oct. 1-5 survey, only 23% said they trusted him less and 17% said they were more likely to trust him.
  • 62% of Democrats, 44% of seniors 65 and over, 41% of women and 40% of independents — but only 11% of Republicans — said they're less likely to trust Trump's guidance now when it comes to the virus.

Between the lines: Republicans are far more likely than Democrats or independents to incorrectly believe that hydroxychloroquine was proven an effective treatment; that a vaccine would be available by election day; or that the U.S. could reach herd immunity with only a few additional deaths.

  • Republicans also are less likely to say it is true there was a pause in some trials due to safety concerns; that the virus can be spread without symptoms; or that wearing a mask limits person-to-person spread.
  • 71% of Democrats, 58% of independents and 27% of Republicans answered all six questions correctly.
  • More than one in five Republicans got half or more of the questions wrong, compared with around 7% of Democrats.
  • People with no major source of news or who primarily watch Fox News had the highest correlations to incorrect answers.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted Oct.16–19 by Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,001 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error for the full sample is +/- 3.3 percentage points.

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

Jan 27, 2021 - Health

OIG: HHS misused millions of dollars intended for public health threats

Vaccine vials. Photo: Punit Paranjpe/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel alerted the White House and Congress on Wednesday of an investigation that found the Department of Health and Human Services misused millions of dollars that were budgeted for vaccine research and public health emergencies for Ebola, Zika and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: The more than 200-page investigation corroborated claims from a whistleblower, showing the agency's violation of the Purpose Statute spanned both the Obama and Trump administrations and paid for unrelated projects like salaries, news subscriptions and the removal of office furniture.

Scoop: Stephanie Murphy announcing challenge to Marco Rubio

Rep. Stephanie Murphy. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy is planning to announce a campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida against Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in early June, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Murphy is a proven fundraiser. Jumping in now would give her an early start to build her case for the Democratic nomination and potentially force Rubio and allied GOP groups to spend heavily to retain a seat in a state that’s trending Republican.