A Partisan Virus?

A lot of people are making the usual red-versus-blue points out of this survey data reported in the New York Times, showing Democrats more alarmed by the risk of COVID-19 than Republicans:

The left, and the media, say this is proof of the insensitivity or “science denial” of Republicans or something, though I say it reflects the superior ability of Republicans to calculate risk tradeoffs better than Democrats. More on this point in due course.

The matter gets more interesting when you look at Gallup survey out last week that reported some curious partisan divides as noted in this Gallup bar graph:

The partisan divide over Trump and Pence is not remarkable at all, but it is interesting that Republicans rate hospitals and government health agencies more highly than Democrats do, and, surprisingly, that Republicans approve of Congress more than Democrats do. Democrats, the party of government, thinks less well of government than Republicans do at the moment.

But the most revealing finding is the bottom bar, showing that a majority of Democrats (61%) approve of the news media’s handling of the coronavirus story, as opposed to only 25 percent of Republicans. This is the largest institutional gap in the survey, and quite telling, isn’t it?

And a nice set-up for today’s comic relief video—drawn once again from the cult classic They Live: