Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index, Week 8: Second-guessing the death toll

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This may be the most jarring evidence to date about just how deeply partisanship has infected our collective ability to trust institutional sources and agree on science and facts. Trust in government is abstract, but death counts are real.

Do you believe the number of Americans dying from COVID-19 is more, less, or about the same as the reported number? Survey of 1,012 U.S. adults conducted May 1–4, 2020. Reported number in question was 61k deaths as of April 30, 2020.

Most Americans say they doubt the U.S. death count — but whether they think it’s actually higher or lower depends on whether they’re Democrats or Republicans, according to the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

  • People whose primary news source is the Fox News channel are most likely to say that U.S. deaths attributed to coronavirus are inflated.

Week 8 of our national weekly survey also finds trust in the federal government slipping to new lows, across party lines.

  • Trust in state governments dropped most in Florida, Georgia and Texas — where governors pushed fast re-openings — and held highest in California, New York and New Jersey, where governors resisted.

What they’re saying: “How people are actually processing information and assigning credibility to it is 100% partisan,” said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs.

By the numbers: New findings give us a glimpse into how Americans are thinking about the longer-term impacts of the virus on summer vacations, the next school year and people in need.

  • 47% say they’ve cancelled summer plans, such as camp or a vacation rental.
  • 58% say they’re concerned that schools won’t reopen in the fall.
  • 63% say they’re concerned about food shortages in the next month.
  • One in five people say they’ve donated in the last month to charities providing food to those in need; one in 10 donated to charities helping hospitals or health workers.


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