- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2020

An overwhelming majority of Americans are confident in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials’ response to the coronavirus outbreak, but are less confident in President Trump’s handling of the situation, according to the Pew Research Center.

More than four-in-five respondents, 83%, said they are very or somewhat confident in the CDC, while 45% said the same about Mr. Trump. Public perception of the government’s response looks to be shaped by both partisanship and the view that Mr. Trump had previously minimized the risks posed by coronavirus.

“Reflecting the public’s modest level of confidence in Trump’s response to the outbreak, 52% say he has not taken the risks from the coronavirus outbreak seriously enough, while 37% say he has gotten the risks about right; 10% say he has exaggerated the risks,” the Pew Research Center report said.

The poll found a nearly even amount of Americans viewed congressional Democrats exaggerated the risks of coronavirus, 40%, as those who got it about right, 38%.

One perspective that crosses partisan lines is the view that the news media overhyped the threat of coronavirus. A majority of adults, 62%, said the news media has exaggerated the risk posed by the outbreak.

“Roughly three-quarters of Republicans (76%) say the news media have exaggerated the risks of the coronavirus, including 53% who say they have greatly exaggerated them,” the Pew Research Center report said. “While Democrats are less likely than Republicans to say this, many do criticize the news media in this regard: 49% of Democrats believe the media have exaggerated the coronavirus risks, compared with 41% who think they’ve gotten them about right.”

The Pew Research Center poll surveyed 8,914 U.S. adults online from March 10-16.

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