- The Washington Times - Monday, January 24, 2022

A poll released Monday finds that more than half of U.S. voters want Dr. Anthony Fauci to keep leading the government’s COVID-19 response, despite President Biden’s continued low approval ratings.

The survey by the Trafalgar Group found that 53.7% of respondents from all political affiliations said they do not believe Dr. Fauci should “resign his position and role,” while 46.3% want him to go.

Pollster Robert Cahaly said the findings reflect the complexity of an electorate that still trusts Dr. Fauci more than Mr. Biden, whose average job approval rating in a FiveThirtyEight average of polls stood at 42.2% on Monday.

“People don’t fall into the boxes everyone thinks they fall into,” Mr. Cahaly said. “During the past few weeks, we’ve seen that while a majority of Americans do not approve of Biden and will be more likely to vote Republican than Democrat, there’s a slight majority that does not want Fauci fired.”

Trafalgar’s poll found that 76.6% of Republican voters and 58.9% of independents want Fauci to go, and 82.5% of Democrats want him to stay.

“Voters have lost confidence in the mixed messaging of all government institutions related to COVID, and Fauci’s feeling that from Republicans and independents,” Mr. Cahaly said. “But Democrats are keeping his approval up because they’re so lopsided in favor of him.”

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Trafalgar’s survey follows an NBC News poll, released Saturday, that found 44% of Americans — including 69% of Democrats, 37% of independents and 22% of Republicans — trust the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s information about COVID-19. Meanwhile, 37% of Americans — including 73% of Democrats, 21% of independents and 8% of Republicans — trust Mr. Biden.
Mr. Cahaly said his poll suggests that the number of Republicans and independents wanting Dr. Fauci to go may be smaller than conventional wisdom suggests.

“There are certainly a lot of people on the right who want him to be fired, but it would overstate things to say that’s what everyone thinks,” the pollster said. “The 2022 swing voters are more complicated than people tend to suppose.”

Nevertheless, Mr. Cahaly said the anti-Fauci sentiment is strong among Republicans and independents who want to see him go.

“There’s now an acceptance that COVID is going to be like the flu, meaning there’s never going to be zero cases,” Mr. Cahaly said. “A lot of this ‘flatten the curve’ and other stuff coming from Fauci has seemed to aim at getting cases to zero, but many people don’t believe that’s realistic.”

Mr. Cahaly added that frustration has grown on the right against Dr. Fauci’s tendency to move back and forth in the severity of recommended COVID-19 policies, “hurting their families and the economy.”

“More people don’t feel confident with Fauci’s opinion having so much control over their lives,” Mr. Cahaly said. “This man’s opinion affects what our kids do at school, whether we go to work, whether we can eat at a restaurant, how we get on a plane, and people are getting sick of it.”

About 39.3% of respondents in the new Trafalgar poll identified as Democrats, 35.6% as Republicans and 25.1% as independents. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.99 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

The firm distributes its survey questionnaires using a mixed methodology of live callers, integrated voice response, text messages, emails and two other proprietary digital methods that it doesn’t share publicly.

According to Trafalgar, the survey of 1,081 likely general election voters was conducted Jan. 12-14.

The poll was conducted on behalf of the nonprofit Convention of States Action, which advocates for returning federal powers to the states.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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