They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That could also apply to the chart below, which tells a story about America in a state-by-state breakdown of people’s views on vaccine acceptance and trust in President Trump, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and scientists.
In Massachusetts, the level of trust in Trump is among the lowest of the states, while trust in Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, and scientists is among the highest. Vaccine acceptance is also among the highest. (Neighboring Rhode Island had the lowest level of trust in Trump in the nation and the highest level of trust in scientists.)
At the other extreme are states where trust in Trump is much higher, while trust in Fauci and scientists, and vaccine acceptance, is much lower.
The chart shows some of the findings from a national survey released Tuesday by researchers from Northeastern University, Harvard University, Rutgers University, and Northwestern University. The survey looked at public trust in institutions and vaccine acceptance.
It was the latest in a series of surveys from a group formed by the universities called The COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States.
The survey received responses from 21,196 individuals across all 50 states plus the District of Columbia from Aug. 7 to Aug. 26, researchers said.
The researchers observed that higher levels of trust in President Trump were a “powerful predictor, at the state level, of lower rates of vaccine acceptance.” They also said trust in scientists and, particularly, in Dr. Fauci, who is director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was correlated with greater vaccine acceptance.
“The correlation in trust in Trump and vaccine hesitancy highlights how he is tapping into distrust in elites and institutions more generally,” David Lazer, a Northeastern University political science and computer science professor who worked on the study, said in an e-mail.
Martin finucane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.