LOS ANGELES (AFP) – United States (US) students who defied coronavirus warnings to keep partying on Florida beaches during their spring break have been crowned the year’s “most foolish” Americans in a new survey – tied with US President Donald Trump.
Images of crowded beaches and crammed nightclubs along Miami Beach’s famously hedonistic strip long after most Americans had embraced social distancing triggered widespread bewilderment and anger last month.
They even drew a rebuke from Trump, whose own handling of the pandemic has been criticised amid delays in testing and hastily retracted pledges to reopen the country in time for Easter.
The newly relaunched annual survey by a US media consultant, commissioned to mark April Fools’ day, found the American public was equally scathing about both.
Of more than 1,000 Americans reached via random phone calls between March 25-27, 51 per cent agreed Trump had acted foolishly in the past year, while 50 per cent said the same about the Miami crowds.
Jeff Barge, the poll’s organiser, declared it a statistical dead heat, within the survey’s margin of error.
The survey was done “just for fun,” he added.
Several other politicians featured on the list including Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden and Rand Paul – an ardent critic of emergency coronavirus spending who became the first US senator to test positive for the disease.
On a darker note, convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein was ranked third, just ahead of rapper Kanye West and actor Jussie Smollett.
The stars of the critically slammed flop movie Cats were given a 22 per cent foolishness rating. “Obviously the rest had not seen the film,” said Barge.
Past winners of the poll – which last ran from 1998 to 2007, and was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation – have included Britney Spears, Michael Jackson and Bill Clinton.