Dr Anthony Fauci is the only figure to find his approval rating rise after being associated with Donald Trump

Almost 50 per cent of respondents in a new poll said their opinion of the 79-year-old public health expert had improved

Harriet Alexander
New York
Sunday 01 November 2020 16:22 GMT
Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has found his approval rating rise during the pandemic
Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has found his approval rating rise during the pandemic (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, is the only person associated with Donald Trump who has seen their approval rating rise over the last four years, according to an exclusive new poll for The Independent.

Despite repeatedly being publicly criticized by Mr Trump, the veteran public health expert has been widely praised for his handling both of the pandemic, and of the mercurial president.

Dr Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was viewed more positively now than four years ago according to 44 per cent of respondents of a poll commissioned by The Independent from JL Partners.

JL Partners spoke to 1,002 people between 26 October and 28 October. Of those, only 19 per cent said they had a less favorable view of the 79-year-old doctor.

Dr Fauci has been one of the most prominent figures in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

He has frequently been derided by the president, who chafed at his recommendations and called him an “idiot” in a phone call to donors.

Dr Fauci, in response, quoted The Godfather, and said it was only business. He told the New Yorker: “'It’s nothing personal, it’s strictly business.’ That’s just how I look at it.”

The New York-born doctor, who has worked with six presidents, said that this quote informs how he works with political leaders.

“You just have a job to do,” he said. “Even when somebody’s acting ridiculous, you can’t chide them for it, you’ve got to deal with them, because if you don’t deal with them then you’re out of the picture."

However Dr Fauci is the rare exception as many others around Mr Trump have found their reputations tarnished, according to the polling.

First Lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have seen their popularity slide.

Some 38 per cent of those polled felt worse about the first lady with 28 per cent taking a positive view. Mr Pence saw 44 per cent of people think badly of him while 31 per cent felt better.

Congressional figures have fared worse. On Utah Senator Mitt Romney, 18 per cent felt better but 35 per cent felt worse; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (28 per cent better, 44 per cent worse); and Republican Senator of South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, (15 per cent better, 34 per cent worse). 

Republican Senator Romney lost support with both Biden voters (down 14 per cent) and Trump voters ( down 23 per cent).

The wider Trump family have also seen their reputations take a battering. 

Almost half of those surveyed (43 per cent) took a poor view of the president’s daughter and White House advisor, Ivanka Trump, while 23 per cent said they feel better. 

For Eric Trump, 42 per cent felt worse and only 18 per cent  thought better of him. Trump son-in-law, Jared Kushner, saw 38 per cent of people think worse of him with only 14 per cent improving their view.

Donald Trump Jr is polarizing, according to the poll. Half of people feel worse about him, more than any other figure in the survey. However 30 per cent of people said they felt better about him. 

The worst performing, in net terms, is Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. Some 16 per cent say they feel better about him, while 45 per cent say worse.

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