Viewers of conservative cable news channels have a better understanding of the risk of death from COVID-19 than do viewers of liberal channels.
Conservative media viewers are also more likely to think officials aren’t being honest about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the COVID-19 case-mortality rate – the percentage of diagnosed patients who have died from the disease – is 1.6% in the United States.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 30% of American Adults correctly estimate the rate as being less than 2%, while 20% believe the rate to be between 2% and 5%. Seventeen percent (17%) estimate the mortality rate to be in the 5%-10% range and 19% believe the rate is more than 10%. Another 14% say they’re not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
More viewers of Newsmax (40%) and Fox News (34%) correctly estimated the COVID-19 mortality rate than viewers of CNN (22%) or MSNBC (24%).
Twenty-one percent (21%) of One America News (OAN) viewers correctly estimated the coronavirus mortality rate. Among Americans who say they don’t watch cable news at all, 38% correctly estimated the mortality rate as less than 2%.
Democrats are significantly more likely than other Americans to overestimate the death risk from COVID-19. Twenty-eight percent (28%) of Democrats think more than 10% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 have died from the disease – more than five times the actual mortality rate.
Just 14% of Republicans and the unaffiliated believe the COVID-19 mortality rate is over 10%.
Republicans (53%) are more likely than Democrats (26%) or the unaffiliated (35%) to believe public health officials are lying about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.
Women are significantly more likely than men to overestimate the mortality rate from COVID-19.
Thirty-six percent (36%) of whites, 32% of Blacks and 41% of other minorities believe public health officials are lying about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. Whites are more likely to correctly estimate the COVID-19 mortality rate as less than 2%.
Thirty-seven percent (37%) of American Adults believe public health officials are lying about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. That’s up from 32% in early July. Forty-four percent (44%) now don’t believe officials are lying about vaccine safety, but 19% are not sure.
The highest levels of distrust are among those who say they most often watch conservative channels. Sixty-two percent (62%) of Newsmax viewers think public health officials are lying about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, as do 60% of OAN viewers and 49% of Fox News viewers. Only 26% of CNN viewers and 25% of MSNBC viewers believe officials are lying about vaccine safety.
The survey of 1,000 U.S. American Adults was conducted on August 26 and 29, 2021 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Nearly half of Democrats say the cable news channel they most often watch is either CNN (24%) or MSNBC (23%). Among Republicans, the preferred choices are either Fox News (37%) or Newsmax (14%). The top cable news channels for those not affiliated with either major party are Fox (18%) and CNN (12%).