Party of science? Dems more likely than GOP to reject or be unaware of actual COVID-19 death rate

New estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that COVID-19 may have an infection fatality rate as low as 0.26%.

Last Updated:
May 26, 2020 - 4:25pm

Democrats, who often portray themselves as the "pro-science" party, are far more likely than Republicans to reject or be unaware of new data from public health officials showing that people who get the coronavirus are far less likely to die than previously thought, according to a new Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen.

New estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that COVID-19 may have an infection fatality rate as low as 0.26%, a number that is double the seasonal flu but significantly lower than earlier estimates. 

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Just the News Poll, Are people far less likely to die of coronavirus than previously thought?
Just the News Daily Poll
With Scott Rasmussen

Determining the infection fatality rate of the illness has been a critical goal of scientists around the world since the discovery of the disease in late November. Infectious disease experts were shocked at the end of last year and into 2020 at how quickly the disease spread and how many of those who became ill ultimately died. 

The Just the News poll found that only half the nation (48%) knows that the fatality rate from the coronavirus is lower than originally thought. Twenty-five percent (25%) believe it’s not true while 27% are not sure.

Among Democrats, awareness was evenly divided between those who thought, correctly, it was true (34%) that the fatality rate was lower than originally thought and those who thought it was false (35%).

Seventy percent (70%) of Republicans are aware of the good news about survivability. That falls to 43% among Independents (of who 26% believe it is false).

"It’s impossible to know whether this partisan dynamic stems from different news sources or some other reason," Rasmussen said. "Perhaps some reject it simply because the lower fatality rate contradicts their pre-existing expectations or what they are seeing in their own community. However, it is clear that this difference has an impact on what should come next."

By a 65% to 31% margin, those who know of the lower fatality rate are more worried about the economic threat to the nation rather than the health threat. As for those who mistakenly believe the fatality rate is not lower, they take the opposite view. By a 61% to 33% margin, they are more worried about the health threat.

Just the News Daily Poll respondents were asked “Is the following statement true or false? The latest data from public health officials shows that people who get the coronavirus are far less likely to die than previously thought." They replied as below:

  • 48% True
  • 25% False
  • 27% Not Sure

The national survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted May 21-23, 2020 by Rasmussen, a polling veteran. Margin of sampling error: +/- 2.8% for full sample. 

To see the full demographic cross-tabulations for this polling question, click below:

To see the methodology and sample demographics for this polling question, click below:

 

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