American Sociological Association

Who Doesn’t Trust Fauci? The Public’s Belief in the Expertise and Shared Values of Scientists in the COVID-19 Pandemic

The primary tension in public discourse about the U.S. government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been President Trump’s disagreement with scientists. The authors analyze a national survey of 1,593 Americans to examine which social groups agree with scientists’ ability to understand the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and which agree that COVID-19 scientists share their values. Republicans and independents are less trusting than Democrats on both measures, as are African Americans. The authors find conservative Protestants and Catholics to be skeptical of scientists’ knowledge but not their values. Working-class men and those who live outside cities believe in scientists’ knowledge but do not think they share scientists’ values. There is little evidence for a direct effect of President Trump’s criticism of scientists. The authors discuss the pragmatic implications for scientists trying to remain influential in COVID-19 policy.

Download PDF


John H. Evans and Eszter Hargittai



Starting Page


Ending Page