This hardly comes as a surprise.
“WASHINGTON, D.C. — The novel coronavirus pandemic provides a view into the deep partisan divisions that have persisted despite the unfolding national crisis. Two recent Gallup/Knight Foundation surveys find Americans’ understanding about the coronavirus is strongly shaped by partisan affiliation and news consumption habits, especially when basic facts are politicized.
Specifically, while Democrats and independents increasingly see COVID-19 as more deadly than the seasonal flu, Republicans’ views have not changed. And while Democrats tend to think the death toll from COVID-19 is understated, Republicans believe it is exaggerated. …”
The same divide can be seen in the polling data on the “Bill Gates is planning to chip us” conspiracy, whether the stay-at-home orders violated constitutional rights and dozens of conspiracy theories. The decision to turn the COVID-19 pandemic into a culture war has broken down like this:
Half of Republicans believe the death toll is inflated.
Half of Republicans believe Bill Gates is planning to chip them.
The conspiracy theory/truther world is all on board with the plandemic conspiracy.
Politically, this is toxic for Republicans. It is Republicans and conservatives who are split on the issue. Democrats are united. 75% of the country thinks the death toll is either about right or understated and it is not “just the flu, bro.” Contrast how Trump handled this with Australia where 100 people died and Prime Minister Scott Morrison now has a record 66% approval rating.
Unlike Donald Trump, Morrison took the true nationalist and populist position. He called on the country to put their ideological differences aside and adapt their behavior to fight a threat to all Australians. He navigated the crisis and improved his political standing. In contrast, our “American Nationalists” have shown their total lack of concern for their fellow citizens.