Twenty-four percent of Americans believe that Hurricane Maria caused many fewer than 3,000 deaths, the survey finds, while 43 percent say the 3,000 figure is about right. Another third say they’re not sure.
Different respondents to the poll saw different versions of the question. Half of those surveyed were told that the Puerto Rican government had reported a death toll of 2,975 based on the results of an official study, and that Trump had rejected those numbers without offering any evidence that the figure was incorrect. The other half were simply asked for their estimation of the death toll, without any additional context.
The results among both groups, however, were nearly identical ― not only as a whole, but also when broken down along political lines. In both groups, more than 80 percent of Hillary Clinton voters accepted the official tally, but only about a tenth of Trump voters did.