How do individuals form new health beliefs and act in the context of unprecedented uncertainty? Drawing on a unique data set of registered California voters collected a month into stay-at-home orders that allows for an individual-level analysis, we examine the impact of political worldviews on trust in public health institutions and beliefs about the threat of COVID-19, effective methods for preventing the disease, and leaving home during the pandemic. Although all measures of political worldviews are strongly associated with trust in public health institutions and perceptions of threat, beliefs about effective prevention measures, and behavior, we find that Trump approval is particularly associated with COVID-19 risk perception and beliefs, beyond political party affiliation or life circumstances that shape exposure to COVID-19. We discuss the theoretical implications of these findings for understanding how political worldviews bear on embodied practices and shape the relationship between beliefs and action in unsettled times.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences(all)
- Trump approval
- health beliefs
- political beliefs