Each year, USAFacts conducts a poll to assess how Americans feel about facts, data, and where that data is sourced. The resulting report, called the State of the Facts poll, provides insights into how Americans agree and disagree on data.
The 2020 State of the Facts poll, conducted with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, also featured several questions about how Americans get COVID-19 data.
According to the results, 57% of people pay extremely or very close attention to information about the virus. Another 33% say they are somewhat closely following information about the virus.
However, they have mixed results in finding reliable data. Thirty percent say it is difficult to find trustworthy facts on COVID-19, and 37% say it has gotten harder since the beginning of the pandemic.
Ease of finding information on COVID-19 since the outbreak began
There’s a gap between where people get their COVID-19 information and trust in the sources. Forty-five percent of people get information from the news media at least once a day. However, just 18% of Americans trust the news media a great deal or quite a bit.
Trust in government sources varies, with 36% saying they trusted health officials' information at agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. Twenty-six percent said the same about their state or local governments, while 16% said they trusted information from President Donald Trump a great deal or quite a bit.
The most trusted sources were respondents’ doctors or health providers, who are trusted by 53% a great deal or quite a bit.
Trust and usage of sources differ by political leanings. Among Democrat-leaning respondents, 58% consume COVID-19 information from news media, while 31% of the group said they trusted the source. Among Republican-leaning respondents, 36% get daily information from the news media, with 8% trusting the source.
Political leanings and COVID-19 information from the news media
This nationwide poll was conducted by The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and funded by USAFacts.
AP-NORC polled 1,043 adults (966 via the web and 77 via telephone) between September 15-25 using the AmeriSpeak Panel®, AmeriSpeak is NORC’s probability-based panel designed to be representative of all US households.