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Tags: Coronavirus | Vaccines | luntz | pollster | vaccines | covid | pandemic

Pollster Frank Luntz: Divide on Vaccines Is Now a Political 'Chasm'

(Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)
Andrew Lai, 12, receives his Covid-19 vaccine.

By    |   Monday, 09 August 2021 09:05 AM

Pollster and strategist Frank Luntz, who has spoken with parents about the response to vaccines and the return to school, said Monday that resistance to getting a COVID-19 vaccine is not only a political divide but a "chasm."

"You can tell whether or not someone is vaccinated just by asking them who they voted for and by asking them their political ideology," Luntz told CNBC's "Squawk Box." "It should not be this way."

And that divide could result in issues as children return to school this fall, as it could affect the economy, said Luntz.

"Businesses, right now as we speak are planning strategies for what they will do," said Luntz. "Here is the problem. If the kids go back to school and they get infected because they are not vaccinated, what does it mean to the parents and how they work and commute, and how our families function and our businesses function?"

Over the next few weeks, though, vaccine rates may go up both because of children returning to school and because the Food and Drug Administration is set soon to give its official, full approval for the Pfizer vaccine, said Luntz.

He added that if he could do one thing to encourage vaccines, he would "talk to the medical community and ask them to do a video to talk about the importance of getting your kids vaccinated, how to get those 12 to 18-year-olds vaccinated, and at least get the first shot before they go to school."

Luntz said he'd also use advertising that is both nonpolitical and nonpartisan, as there is a wide divide between the numbers of Republicans, at 23%, who say their children are likely to be vaccinated than with Democrats, at 40%.

"I’d focus on the red state communities because that's where the challenge is happening," said Luntz. "It is happening among Trump voters. It is happening among those who live in small towns and rural communities. I'll focus on them and the language for them."

He added that he'd also engage grandparents and pharmacists in the push for vaccinations.

"People trust the pharmacists...let's get them to do videos to the people they serve of 60 seconds, asking them to make the right decision, reminding them it is their decision," said Luntz.

Meanwhile, Luntz said that recent polling shows that most people would accept it if the companies they work for would require vaccines for their employees.

"You have the 10% to 15% who will not (accept that)," said Luntz. "Number two, you have the great rethink. We are deciding where we want to work and how we want to work, and where we want to live and how we want to live. Even if they don't issue that mandate, the fact is there are some people who will not even consider going back to work. They moved (as) they decided they want to live in another place, you have the numbers up."

But businesses must watch their language when determining their vaccination policy and they must offer an alternative, Luntz said.

"You don't want to give them a yes or no," said Luntz. "They need to be able to make the choice themselves. That's what makes us Americans... in the end, the public believes the workplace should be safe, secure, and healthy. If you can't guarantee that without the vaccines, the people who are vaccinated demand, absolutely demand, to have a safe, secure, healthy workplace."

But unless CEOs can guarantee that work environments can be safe and give people the ability to choose on their vaccines while understanding that "choices have consequences," they may face issues with retaining employees.

But still, even without the vaccines coming into play, retaining workers is a problem, said Luntz.

"You will have 10% of the employee workforce already re-examining if they want to return, not just to their physical job, but return to that employer anyway," he said. "This great rethink will cause the highest level of instability in the business community than anything we have seen since the great recession of 2008-2009. There is no way to avoid it, (so) you have to navigate it as effectively as possible."

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Pollster and strategist Frank Luntz, who has spoken with parents about the response to vaccines and the return to school, said Monday that resistance to getting a COVID-19 vaccine is not only a political divide but a "chasm." "You can tell whether or not someone is...
luntz, pollster, vaccines, covid, pandemic
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2021-05-09
Monday, 09 August 2021 09:05 AM
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