All right, all right, that’s not the most substantive information from the latest CBS/YouGov poll. It is, however, the most entertaining. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that the public overwhelmingly trusts Donald Trump when it comes to COVID-19 either; it just means that the media score worst on this media-sponsored poll.

So who does get the trust of the American public when it comes to COVID-19 information? Everyone appears to have lost significant ground on that score in the last six months, YouGov found, thanks to a track record of poor performance. Trump actually lost the least amount of ground, but that’s because Trump didn’t exactly start from a position of strength:

As the coronavirus outbreak continues, voters now have less trust in some key entities for information about the virus, with a notable drop in trust in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Back in March, 86% of voters trusted the CDC for accurate information about the virus, but today just 54% do. Trust is down across all major demographics, including both Democrats and Republicans. Fewer also trust the media, their state’s governor and President Trump for accurate information about the coronavirus, compared to the spring.

The CDC blew its credibility over their contradictory face-mask claims. When the supply was short at the beginning of the crisis, the CDC insisted that people shouldn’t use them — not to save the stock for health-care workers, but because the CDC claimed they didn’t do any good. By the beginning of April, the CDC turned on a dime and then claimed everyone should wear them. That original, so-called “noble lie” has haunted them ever since. (And it was a spectacularly dumb “noble lie,” since masks have been used for years in Asia to contain public transmission of viruses, both old and emerging.)

Oddly, though, CBS didn’t bother to chart two others polled on this question. Anthony Fauci gets 61% trust, putting him above the CDC and governors. There is a broad partisan split on this question, however. Democrats trust Fauci 89/11, far above the CDC at 66/34, governors at 65/35, and even the national media at 62/38 (on which more in a moment). Republican trust in Fauci only comes in at 35/65, well below the 45/55 for the CDC and the 50/50 for governors. Fauci has become a partisan lightning rod in the COVID-19 crisis to an astounding degree.

The other entity left off this graphic is “medical professionals,” implicitly excluding Fauci or the folks at the CDC, presumably. They score 86/14 overall on trust, with little difference among demos or political persuasions. Maybe CBS decided not to include them in that graphic out of embarrassment over the disparity between medical professionals and everyone else, including themselves. In six months, people have learned that anyone going on television or other public platforms about COVID-19 likely has an axe to grind.

Unfortunately, that also goes for claims about vaccine progress:

Two-thirds believe any vaccine released in 2020 will have been “rushed through without enough testing.” That too has a partisan tilt, but only 52% of Republicans will hail it as a scientific achievement; 48% will consider it rushed, as will 77% of Democrats and 66% of independents. In order to build trust in any new vaccine, though, 75% of people want the president to get the shot first, a proposition with 2:1 or better support in all three partisan demos. Roll up your sleeve, President Trump?

That has gotten pervasive enough that the drug manufacturers felt compelled today to declare that they themselves will not release a vaccine unless the science dictates it:

Nine pharmaceutical companies developing coronavirus vaccines issued an unusual joint pledge Tuesday to stick to safety and science amid mounting public fears that pre-election politics could drive vaccine decisions.

Each of the drugmakers has moved a vaccine into clinical trials in record-smashing time. But public confidence in the shots has dropped as President Donald Trump repeatedly predicts a vaccine could come before the Nov. 3 election. Nearly a fifth of Americans are hesitant to take a Covid-19 vaccine and just 14 percent would be more likely to take one that Trump recommended, a July POLITICO/Morning Consult survey found.

Executives for the nine manufacturers promised to only submit potential Covid-19 vaccines for approval or emergency use authorization after demonstrating safety and efficacy through a Phase III trial, the final and sweeping study, that meets Food and Drug Administration requirements. Three are currently undergoing Phase III testing.

In all fairness, that should be relatively easy to accomplish, assuming their product is effective. Vaccines get taken only once or in a short series, and side effects usually emerge immediately. Other drugs taken for much longer periods of time have to use longer-range Phase III studies on efficacy and safety. The big threshold in these trials are waiting for enough positive transmissions in the control groups to determine efficacy in the vaccinated groups, which might take a few weeks depending on the rate of community transmission in those areas. With some luck, they could wrap up Phase III in a few short weeks.

Getting people to take an effective vaccine is the last hurdle to full reopening. Perhaps if everyone stopped playing politics with COVID-19, that task wouldn’t be tougher than developing vaccines in the first place.

Note: There is more on other topics in this poll, which we might get to in a later post.