Our mid-year 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Spring Update: Trust and the Covid-19 Pandemic shows a significant rise in Americans’ trust in both government and business. Since January, trust in government has risen nine points, and trust in business has risen six points.

This is particularly important because while trust in government has risen sharply to a record high in a few short months, the government in the U.S. is still distrusted overall, with an approval of only 48 percent. Overall, business trust has surged to 56 percent over the same period, signalling an opportunity for business leaders to play a major role in addressing issues related to the pandemic and help prepare for an overall return to work.

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These historic rises in trust are especially important given the fact that our research shows that considerable increases in trust scores are often be followed by losses in trust. Simply put, our leaders must live up to this expectation immediately or risk squandering this unprecedented opportunity.

The role for business is particularly important because 60 percent of U.S. respondents say that CEOs should take the lead on the pandemic response as opposed to waiting for the government to impose it. That said, only 27 percent say CEOs are doing an outstanding job meeting the demands placed on them by the pandemic, indicating an incredible opportunity for business executives to step up and lead.

For corporate leaders, this is a unique moment of reckoning and an opportunity to leverage this rise in trust to act tangibly and collaborate effectively in ways that pave the way for an overall return to work.

To underscore just how high the stakes are for business leaders to get things right, 54 percent of U.S. respondents are very concerned about job loss due to the pandemic and not being able to find a new job for a very long time. This occurs at a time when only 37 percent of U.S. respondents believe business is doing well or very well at protecting their employees’ financial wellbeing and safeguarding their jobs.

Our data also shows that only 41 percent of Americans think business is doing “well or very well” at ensuring the products and services that people need most are readily available and easily accessible. Now is a time for clients to sharpen their strategic planning, in line with the ways Covid-19 is changing their audiences.

Our survey also uncovers a sense of underlying optimism that business leaders must tap into in order to positively transition out of the current situation and return to work. As horrible as the pandemic is, 64 percent of U.S. respondents believe this situation will lead to valuable innovations and changes for the better in how we live, work and treat each other as people.

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About The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Spring Update:
Trust and the Covid-19 Pandemic

The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Spring Update: Trust and the Covid-19 Pandemic is an update to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer. The survey was conducted by Edelman Data & Intelligence between April 15 and April 23, and sampled more than 13,200 respondents in 11 markets: Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, S. Korea, U.K. and U.S. 1,200 people were surveyed in each market, 100 of which were informed public. All informed public respondents met the following criteria: aged 25-64, college-educated; household income in the top quartile for their age in their country; read or watch business/news media at least several times a week; follow public policy issues in the news at least several times a week.

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