Press Release

Majority of Americans Trust Biden to Lead U.S. Healthcare System Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

4 min
October 08, 2020

Ability to manage the pandemic and reducing healthcare costs are equally important to Americans in determining their vote for president

SAN DIEGO and WASHINGTON, D.C. — With Election Day less than a month away, a new West Health-Gallup national survey finds more Americans trust former Vice President Joe Biden than President Donald Trump to efficiently lead the U.S. healthcare system through the COVID-19 pandemic. A 52% majority say they trust Biden while 39% say they trust Trump.

The gap is even larger among younger adults age 18 to 29. Sixty-two percent of them place their faith in Biden compared to only 25% who support Trump’s leadership of the healthcare system. Biden’s lead falls to within two percentage points among adults 65 and older (48% vs. 46%).

The findings are based on a large, nationally representative sample of more than 1,500 U.S. adults in the two days immediately following the Sept. 29 presidential debate. The sample consisted primarily of debate viewers as well as some non-viewers.

While managing the COVID-19 pandemic remains a top issue at the ballot box for most voters (67%) heading into the presidential election, about the same proportion of Americans (66%) say lowering the cost of healthcare is important to earn their vote, according to the survey. Another 45% say a candidate’s ability to lower drug costs specifically, is most or among the most important to them.

“Americans need to trust their leaders to do the right thing when it comes to managing the U.S. healthcare system both during and after a pandemic,” said Tim Lash, chief strategy officer of West Health. “Unfortunately, at least when it comes to lowering the cost of healthcare, Americans have been burned in the past with empty promises from politicians and sky-high medical bills from hospitals, insurers and pharmacy counters.”

Beyond the pandemic and healthcare costs, a 54% majority of Americans say they trust Biden more to ensure racial equality in terms of access to quality healthcare compared to 38% for Trump.  White adults were evenly split (46% to 45%) on the candidates, Black adults were nearly 10-times more likely to trust Biden over Trump (84% to 9%) and Hispanic adults were twice as likely (60% to 31%).

“Joe Biden has a clear advantage as the candidate Americans prefer to lead healthcare and create a more racially equitable healthcare system in the United States during this global pandemic,” said Dan Witters, Gallup senior researcher. “While some groups were more split, U.S. adults are generally aligned in Biden’s favor by wide margins. It will be interesting to see how this plays out at the ballot box in November.”

Other Survey Findings

  • Trust in each candidate to lead the healthcare system during the pandemic splits along party lines. Ninety-five percent of Democrats believe in Biden’s abilities while 88% of Republicans trust Trump. Independents give a slight edge to Biden – 47% trust the former vice president over Trump.
  • Women are significantly more likely than men to trust in Biden’s leadership of the healthcare system amid COVID-19 (58% vs. 46%), while men are more likely to trust in Trump (48% vs. 32%).
  • Democrats are considerably more inclined than Republicans to place high importance on addressing the pandemic (94% to 41%) and reducing healthcare costs (81% to 52%) when casting their vote for president.
  • 88% of Black respondents place a particularly high importance on managing the pandemic in their vote choice compared to 71% of Hispanic respondents and 62% of White respondents.
  • There is less of a partisan divide when it comes to lowering the cost of prescription drugs – 49% of Democrats cite it as the most important or among the most important issues compared with 41% of Republicans and 44% of Independents.To read the full results and methodology statement, please visit here.


About West Health
Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health is a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations including the Gary and Mary West Foundation and Gary and Mary West Health Institute in San Diego, and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C. West Health is dedicated to lowering healthcare costs to enable seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence. Learn more at and follow @westhealth.

About Gallup
Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students and citizens than any other organization in the world.