Poll: 4 in 10 Americans Think CDC Is Bungling Pandemic Messaging

Walensky
(Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images)

More Americans disagree than agree that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) pandemic messaging is clear and effective.

According to a Gallup poll released on Tuesday, 41 percent of Americans now disagree and 32 percent agree that the CDC has “communicated a clear plan of action in response to the COVID-19 situation.”

According to the poll report:

The public’s opinions about CDC communication have varied throughout the pandemic. They have been more critical than positive at other times besides now. These include September 2020, when there was concern about premature approval of COVID-19 vaccines, and January 2021, when infections and deaths peaked and the federal government struggled with the initial vaccine rollout.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky in August complained about mistrust and criticism over “how to communicate to people” who are skeptical of the agency’s “data driven” recommendations. Dr. Walensky told the Wall Street Journal:

I am really struggling with how to communicate to people who are worried about politics, and I just want them to continue to be at their family’s dinner table. My job is to put my head down, ignore the criticism and do the right thing for the public and to do the right thing for health.

The poll also found for the “first time” that more American disagree (42 percent) than agree (40 percent) that president Joe Biden “is communicating clearly in regard to the coronavirus response.”

“This change is consistent with the decline in his overall job approval rating in July and August that has occurred as new coronavirus infections have spiked in the U.S.,” the report states. 

Americans have been more likely to positively evaluate their governor’s communication regarding the pandemic since Gallup began asking the question in June 2020. However, the current ratings, in which 41 percent of U.S. adults agree and 35 percent disagree that their governor’s messaging is clear, are “the least positive” measured to date.

The poll results are from an August 16-22 survey interviewing more than 3,500 U.S. adults and have a margin of sampling error of ±2 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

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