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Data: SurveyMonkey and Axios survey; Table: Axios Visuals

Strong majorities of Americans trust the major health agencies to protect the country from the coronavirus, while fewer trust President Trump, according to an Axios/SurveyMonkey poll.

Why it matters: The results suggest that health officials have a high degree of credibility in this crisis — and that Trump is on safer ground when he closes ranks with them, as he did in his unusually candid remarks about the outbreak at Monday's press conference.

Between the lines: There's no significant difference between Republicans and Democrats in terms of trust in agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and state health departments.

  • With Trump, however, the partisan differences on trust are pretty much what you'd expect. (Independents aren't split down the middle — only about three in 10 trust him.)
  • Trump's trust level on the coronavirus is slightly lower than his approval rating in the same survey: 47%. His average approval rating usually hovers around 42%, per FiveThirty Eight.

Another recent Axios-SurveyMonkey poll found significant partisan differences in how Americans are reacting to the crisis.

  • Democrats were more likely than Republicans to say they're likely to avoid large gatherings like sporting events or concerts (67% to 49%), public spaces like restaurants and theaters (53% to 37%), and social gatherings with friends and families (38% to 25%).

What to watch: Whether that gap narrows after Trump's somber acknowledgment at Monday's press conference that the virus isn't yet under control — and that the public's safety is in danger.

Methodology: This SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted March 9-13 among a national sample of 7,925 adults in the U.S. Respondents for this survey were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day.

The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over.

Go deeper

8 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.