A poll of Americans on President Joe Biden’s plan to require most workers to either get vaccinated or routinely test for COVID-19 finds a deep and familiar divide: Democrats are heavily for it, while most Republicans are against it.
Overall, 51% say they accept the Biden requirement, with the highly contagious Delta variant driving deaths up to nearly 2,000 per day, a poll released Thursday by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed. 34% disapprove and 14% disapprove.
Nearly three-quarters of Democrats, but only a quarter of Republicans, approve. Roughly 6 out of 10 Republicans say they reject it. During the outbreak, Democrats and Republicans in many places have also found themselves divided over masks and other precautions.
“I don’t believe the federal government should ask me to get vaccinated or lose my job or get tested,” said 28-year-old firefighter Emilio Rodriguez in Corpus Christi, Texas. Republicans do not comment.
Democrat and retired school secretary Sarah Carver, 70, strongly approves of the Biden mandate. The suburban Cleveland resident said she wants more people to protect her 10-year-old grandson, who is too young to get the shot, and her husband, who has been vaccinated, who has breathing problems and Alzheimer’s disease. To be vaccinated.
“I believe Dr. Fauci,” Carver told the government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Referring to Anthony Fauci said. Carver has taken two doses of Moderna Vaccine.
Sixty-four percent of vaccinated Americans say they accept the mandate, while 23% disapprove. Among unaffiliated Americans, only 14% are in support, while 67% are against. Most remote employees approve, but in-person employees are almost equally divided.
“The test is used here to make it inconvenient” to avoid vaccination, said immunologist Gigi Gronwall, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. The alternative would be: “You can get your two doses of the vaccine, or here’s what you’re going to do every week.”
The hope, Gronwall said, is that the mandate will force those who have now procrastinated to join the 56% of the fully vaccinated US population.
The test option makes the Biden workplace more palatable for Cassie Tremant, a 32-year-old volunteer for a wildlife rescue group in Austin, Texas. He agrees to the mandate as long as people can opt out by getting tested weekly. A Democrat, he is fully vaccinated. Her grandmother was hospitalized with COVID-19.
“Personally, I would prefer that everyone be vaccinated,” Tremant said. The Biden plan “gives people a choice. If they don’t comply, it’s up to them to test it. I think it’s a fair rule.”
Roughly two-thirds of Americans say they are at least to some degree concerned about themselves or family members becoming infected with the virus, although the intense concern has waned. 3 in 10 are now very or extremely worried, compared to 4 in 10 in mid-August.
Corpus Christi firefighter Rodriguez said he does not trust government vaccine information because it appears to him to be overly rosy.
“I haven’t heard anything negative about getting it,” he said. “Nothing about side effects. It’s like ‘No, all is well. Go ahead and get it.'”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists common side effects of vaccines such as fatigue, muscle aches, fever, chills and nausea. Serious problems are rare, including inflammation of the heart that can occur in young men.
If he is under a workplace mandate, Rodriguez said, he will consult with his doctor, whom he trusts.
Public confidence in America’s top science agencies for vaccine information is also relatively high. Roughly 7 out of 10 rely on the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration at least in moderate amounts.
“They’re scientists and they know what they’re talking about,” said Carver, an Ohio retired. “They’re not quacks like you see on the Internet.”
In contrast, only 4 out of 10 Americans say they rely on the news media in general or excessive amounts for information about vaccines; About 6 out of 10 have little or no trust in the media.
Most Americans approve of Biden’s handling of COVID-19, although his rating is lower than during the first six months of his presidency. Seventy-five percent approve, while 43% disapprove. This is similar to their ratings last month. As recently as July, nearly two-thirds approve of Biden’s handling of the pandemic.
Close to half don’t trust the president for vaccine information. This includes Democrat Trement, Austin Wildlife Rescue volunteers.
“Politicians say really dumb stuff,” Tremant said. “I will never rely on any medical guidance or advice from any politician, even if they are my favorite politician in the world.”
The -NORC survey of 1,099 adults was conducted September 23–27 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the US population. The margin of sample error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.