Who do unvaccinated Americans trust on COVID?

Plus, more on how the unvaccinated view travel and Americans' TV watching habits.

The author(s)

  • Sarah Feldman Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
  • Catherine Morris Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
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August 3— With COVID cases ticking up due to the Delta variant, the vaccinated feel things like mass transit and plane travel are increasingly risky, while unvaccinated Americans don’t. Additionally, we look at who unvaccinated Americans trust to provide them with accurate information about the pandemic. Plus, your mother was probably right: TV watching and mental health are connected.

The latest on the pandemic:

TV habits:

The unvaccinated feel mass transit and plane travel are just as risky as two months ago

Despite rising COVID cases and a growing number of hospitalizations, many unvaccinated Americans feel taking mass transit or a plane is just as risky as it was two months ago. One in two unvaccinated Americans sees taking mass transit or traveling via airplane as a moderate or large risk to their health or well-being.

On the other hand, two in three vaccinated Americans feel mass transit or plane travel is now a sizeable risk for their health, up 9-points from late June.

Importantly, last week, the White House announced that it would keep all existing coronavirus travel restrictions in place, citing concern about the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Unvaccinated Americans who are open to the shot are more likely to trust public health experts

Even among unvaccinated people, trust in the CDC varies widely based on how resistant someone is to the COVID-19 vaccine. People who are open to the vaccine (but still have not gotten it) trust the CDC at similar rates to vaccinated people. But, trust in the CDC plummets among unvaccinated Americans who are much more resistant to ever getting the vaccine.

These trust gaps extend to friends and family, too, a group that unvaccinated Americans, on the whole, tend to trust when it comes to the pandemic. The unvaccinated who are on the fence about the shot trust friends and family much more than those who are not at all likely to get the vaccine.

For this analysis, Axios partnered with Ipsos to examine data from the five most recent waves of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index to understand the particulars of the unvaccinated population.

Generational pivot to streaming

Younger Americans are increasingly pivoting to streaming TV services and, among the youngest cohort, away from TVs towards streaming onto smart devices.

Many Americans use streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video on a physical TV, Ipsos polling finds. Millennials and Gen X’ers are slightly more likely than Boomers and Gen Z’ers to use their streaming service in this way.

Streaming entertainment on a device, like a phone, laptop, or tablet, reveals a larger generational shift. Few Baby Boomers use streaming services on mobile devices, while that is the most popular mode of watching television among Gen Z’ers.

Boomers are keeping cable afloat. One in two who are over 55 are cable watchers, 18-points ahead of Gen X and 30-points ahead of Millennials.

Infrequent TV watchers can’t resist the occasional binge

Americans consume lots of TV – two in five say they watch more than 10 hours on average each week. Just 16% say they watch three hours or less each week, Ipsos polling finds.

But even some of the more infrequent TV watchers find it difficult to resist the occasional binge. Even among those who don’t watch as much TV in a week three in ten say they binge-watched something in the past month. From there, as TV consumption goes up, so does the likelihood of watching TV for more than two hours in one sitting.

The lure of bingeing half a season or more is widespread, ranging from one in five among less frequent TV viewers to one in three among the more TV-committed among us.

Binge-watchers are less likely to feel a daily sense of well-being

People who feel a daily or near-daily sense of connectedness and happiness are somewhat less likely to binge-watch TV shows than their peers who don’t report a sense of well-being every day.

Three in four people (77%) who don’t binge-watch TV feel good about managing the responsibilities of everyday life, 11-points ahead of their binge-watching counterparts. A similar gap emerges on the question of whether a person’s life has meaning or direction. Seven in ten people who don’t binge-watch shows feel this sense of purpose, while 58% of binge-watchers say the same.

The author(s)

  • Sarah Feldman Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
  • Catherine Morris Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs