Show an ad over header. AMP

Axios-Ipsos poll: Distrusting Big Pharma and the FDA

Data: Ipsos/Axios survey; Note: ±3.2% margin of error for the total sample; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Fewer than 1 in 10 Americans have a great deal of trust in the Food and Drug Administration or pharmaceutical companies to look out for their interests, in the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This two-headed credibility crisis — over the medicine that's supposed to keep us safe and the regulators tasked with ensuring it does — shows how difficult it may be to get Americans to converge around a vaccine when the time comes.


  • This also underscores the dangers of politicizing government agencies tasked with administering science and protecting the public.

What they're saying: "It’s going to be hard for the authorities to communicate what people should be doing and how to be doing it," said pollster Chris Jackson, senior vice president for Ipsos Public Affairs.

  • "There’s going to be a huge organizational challenge in how do we get people pulling in the same direction — because nobody’s really trusted."

Between the lines: While both have their doubters, the FDA is the more trusted of the two for now.

  • 57% of Americans have some degree of trust in the FDA, though only 8% of those categorized it as a great deal of trust while the balance said they have a fair amount of trust.
  • Another 42% said they had either not very much trust in the FDA or none at all.
  • For pharmaceutical companies, the attitudes were flipped: 42% had some trust in the industry, though only 6% said they had a great deal of trust. Meanwhile, 57% said they had not very much or none at all.
  • Hispanic respondents have the most trust in both institutions; white respondents have the least.

By the numbers: More than half of respondents age 65 or older — but only one-third of adults under 30 — say they trust pharmaceutical companies.

  • Proximity to cities is a better predictor of skepticism about the FDA or pharmaceutical companies than party ID.
  • 60% of urban respondents and 57% in suburbs, but only 49% in rural areas, express trust in the FDA. When it comes to pharmaceutical companies, only one-third of rural residents express trust, 10 percentage points lower than for suburban or urban areas.

The big picture: Week 24 of our national survey reflects overall stability in U.S. attitudes toward the pandemic even as parents and school systems weigh how to return to class.

  • 35% of respondents with children under 18 say they've sent their kids back to in-person classes, while 54% have returned their kids to class via virtual or distance learning.
  • 64% of Americans say they feel about the same risk of contracting the virus as they did in April; 15% say they feel they're at greater risk, while 20% feel they're at lower risk.
  • About 9 in 10 respondents say they're wearing a mask and keeping a 6-foot distance from others.
  • 1 in 4 Americans have now been tested for the virus.
  • 6 in 10 know someone who's tested positive, and 23% know someone who's died.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted Sept. 11–14 by Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,019 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ± 3.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

Netanyahu doesn't want a fight with Biden over Iran — yet

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, hoping to avoid an immediate clash with President Biden over Iran, will give dialogue a chance, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: Biden intends to try to resume the 2015 nuclear deal, which Netanyahu vehemently opposes. The two are on a collision course, and memories are fresh of the crisis in U.S.-Israel relations when Netanyahu was publicly campaigning against Barack Obama's attempts to reach a deal — including in a speech to Congress.

Keep reading... Show less

The Doomsday Clock is kept unchanged at 100 seconds to midnight

In its annual update on Wednesday morning, scientists announced the Doomsday Clock would be kept at 100 seconds to midnight.

Why it matters: The decision to keep the clock hands steady — tied for the closest it has ever been to midnight in the clock's 74-year history — reflects a picture of progress on climate change and politics undercut by growing threats from infectious disease and disruptive technologies.

Keep reading... Show less

Biden's climate orders to include halt on new oil-and-gas leases on public lands

President Biden will signnew executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — and will begin an intense battle with the oil industry.

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.

Keep reading... Show less

Silicon Valley backlash grows as vocal tech faction boycotts

Silicon Valley may be a "state of mind," but it's also very much a real enclave in Northern California. Now, a growing faction of the tech industry is boycotting it.

Why it matters: The Bay Area is facing for the first time the prospect of losing its crown as the top destination for tech workers and startups — which could have an economic impact on the region and force it to reckon with its local issues.

Keep reading... Show less

Telework's tax mess: A permanent side effect of the pandemic

As teleworkers flit from city to city, they're creating a huge tax mess.

Why it matters: Our tax laws aren't built for telecommuting, and this new way of working could have dire implications for city and state budgets.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories