Cary Funk, Pew Research Center: “It Can Be Confusing”

Subscribe and Listen

In this crossover episode with the CSIS Coronavirus Crisis Update Podcast, we asked Cary Funk, Pew Research Center, to make sense of how the pandemic has impacted our society and American opinion as we approach the pandemic’s two years. “It can be confusing.” Polarization now increasingly aligns between the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated, versus simple partisan identity. At the fundamental level, Americans are split over whether Covid-19 is a common problem. Does the “Big Lie” bleed over into the field of public health? “It’s all complicated.” “The political lens” increasingly encompasses so much of public health, accelerating the erosion of public trust and confidence in science, a trend that had already been underway for years. False statements can travel the globe in 48 hours, but knowing the impact is much more difficult. Are we at a turning point, a softening of polarization? “We need to wait and see.” Heightened US international engagement enjoys majority support and has not become politicized. What is the impact of the loss of 757,000 lives on opinion? We have to continue looking at that. 

Cary Funk is director of science and society research at the Pew Research Center.