Half of Americans Back Biden’s Vaccine-or-Test Mandate for Private Sector, Businesshala Poll Finds

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Fifty-five percent of voters in a Wall Street Journal poll said they support the requirements for companies with 100 or more employees, while 47% oppose them.

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Voters were also divided on whether the Covid-19 vaccine should be mandatory for school children, with more people in favor of requiring the vaccine for older children. 51 percent of respondents said they would support schools that require that children age 12 and older be vaccinated, while 45% said they were opposed to the idea. Voters were split evenly, 48%-48%, on whether schools should provide vaccines for children between the ages of 5 and 11.

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The findings come after the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-testing mandate for private employers, set to take effect on January 4, was temporarily blocked by a court last month amid legal challenges. Mr Biden’s separate vaccine mandate for healthcare workers was also blocked by the courts.

Mr Biden has made vaccines mandatory for federal employees and contractors as well as US service members. Many Big Businesses, Including Walt Disney Co.

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and Meatpacker Tyson Foods Inc.,

Hospital groups, and colleges and universities have already implemented COVID-19 vaccine requirements.

The Biden administration has underscored the urgency of vaccination amid the emergence of the Omicron version, which was recognized in 16 states as of Sunday, and encouraged people to get booster shots.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 63.8% of the eligible US population is fully vaccinated. About 71.5% of adults, or 185 million people, have been fully vaccinated, and about 47 million have received the booster dose, which has so far been authorized for use in adults.

California is the only state that has so far unveiled plans to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required vaccinations for K-12 schools, pending full authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Journal poll found that respondents with children at home were more likely to oppose vaccine mandates in schools. Those with children under the age of 18 oppose the need for after-school vaccines for adolescents by a 7-point margin and for children between the ages of 5 and 11 by a 14-point margin. In contrast, voters without a child at home were more receptive to vaccine requirements in schools. These respondents favored rather than opposed the need for adolescents by a margin of 14 points, and they supported the 9-point requirement for children aged 5 to 11.

Among parents, 52% of respondents who identified as fathers said they support requiring children 12 and older to be vaccinated in schools, compared to 40% of mothers. A majority of both mothers and fathers said they would oppose schools requiring children between the ages of 5 and 11 to be vaccinated.

The Journal poll found that the partisan divide is more widespread when it comes to vaccine assumptions. Twenty percent of Republicans said they support Mr. Biden’s vaccine requirements for large employers, compared to 41% of independents and 88% of Democrats. Senate Republicans are backing a legislative maneuver to roll back that vaccine requirement, though the measure is unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled House, and with only one Democratic senator on board currently, Republicans have no access to the president. There is not enough support to override the veto.

The poll found that Republicans were also more likely than independents or Democrats to oppose vaccine requirements for public safety workers and the prospect of schools mandating vaccines for children. Most independents oppose Mr Biden’s vaccine-or-testing mandates for private companies, while most independents support state or local vaccine mandates for public safety workers, the Journal poll found.

“Most everything about Covid has become very polarized by the party,” said Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio, whose firm conducted the survey with the firm of Democratic pollster Jon Angelone. “Mandates in particular tend to be very polarized.”

Most Americans are confident in the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. Sixty-five percent of Republican voters said that vaccines are either very or somewhat safe, and 67% of independent voters and 93% of Democrats said the same. A total of 75% of the respondents said that the vaccine is safe to some degree or so, while 16% said that it is not safe at all.

Among the respondents, 40% who said they had not been vaccinated, said that the vaccines are very effective or somewhat effective. And 28% of non-vaccinated respondents said that the vaccines are either very safe or somewhat safe.

Democratic pollster Mr Anzalon said the findings showed some voters could still be persuaded to vaccinate despite the partisan division.

“There’s a universe of unaffiliated people out there who believe it’s safe and effective,” Mr Anzalon said. “They want it to be done on their own timeline, if you… and Omicron can be the catalyst that helps people access the pharmacy to get it done.”

Businesshala poll was conducted by the firms ALG Research and Fabrizio, Lee & Associates, which surveyed 1,500 registered voters from November 16-22. Half of the respondents were interviewed on their cell phones. A quarter accessed their cellphones by text and completed an Internet survey. A quarter of the respondents were interviewed by landline phone. The margin of error for the entire sample was plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

write to Sabrina Siddiqui at [email protected]

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