A majority of voters support mask and vaccine mandates, with the most opposition to such requirements coming from Republicans, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll.
The survey, released Wednesday, also found that half of the voters surveyed blame the current surge of infections on unvaccinated people and on political leaders who oppose mandates on mask-wearing and social distancing, reports Politico.
According to the poll, conducted between Aug. 7-9 among a sample of 1,996 registered voters and having a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points:
- More than eight in 10 Democrats and at least 50% of independent voters want vaccines to be required for all Americans, except for people with medical conditions, for employees who work in their area, and for people using gyms or going to entertainment facilities.
- 35% of Republicans support such mandates.
- 20% of the voters said neither the unvaccinated nor politicians are responsible for the surge, 14% blamed unvaccinated people solely, and 7% targeted politicians.
- About one-fifth of voters said neither is responsible; 14% blamed the unvaccinated solely and another 7% targeted the politicians.
The poll, coming while COVID-19 cases blamed on the Delta variant continue to grow, especially in Republican-majority Gulf Coast states, points to a "clear partisan split," notes Politico.
Meanwhile, almost all Democrats polled and most independents backed mask mandates, while Republican support went up by a handful of points.
GOP Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas are both opposed to mandatory masking and vaccines, with DeSantis prohibiting local governments and schools in Florida from enacting mask mandates.
"This is one of the fundamental divides between the left and right: the role of the federal government and any government. It’s just a clear distinction," said Dave Carney, a veteran GOP strategist and Abbott adviser. "People are getting vaccinated on the right. They just don’t want to be forced to do it, and they don’t want to take away people’s personal responsibility."
Meanwhile, the voters gave President Joe Biden high marks in managing the pandemic and said they trust congressional Democrats more than Republicans on handling the crisis:
- 58% rate Biden excellent or good; giving him an overall job approval rating of 51%
- 45% said they trust Democrats in Congress more when it comes to handling the coronavirus than Republicans at 33%.
- Republicans edged Democrats by 6 points on handling the economy and 4 points on jobs.
Ben LaBolt, a veteran of President Obama’s reelection who advised Biden’s transition team, said Biden should push harder to require vaccines, and that ending the pandemic is a key metric for the president's success.
"We’ve already seen that when leaders push harder to require vaccines, the rates pick up, and we’re going to need that leadership from all levels to put the pandemic behind us," he said. "We know vaccines are the path to solving this problem and ending the pandemic in the long-term, and we can’t allow a hyper-partisan third of the population to hold us back."
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