As Covid-19 numbers came in, they have revealed a massive political divide on the issue of workplace vaccine mandates.
Nearly 11,000 people died of Covid-19 last week, according to the John Hopkins University Medical Center’s Coronovirus Resource Center. This represents a jump of almost 2,000 from the week prior, and a massive spike compared to 1,625 in July, the current low for 2021.
In spite of this, the bitter dispute over vaccine mandates remains a politically divisive subject. Despite a slow rise in support for the last several months, Republicans, in particular, remain adamantly opposed to vaccine requirements in the workplace, as many as 76%, according to a new Gallup poll. Republican opposition goes up to 79% when asked about requiring proof of vaccination in other environments such as dining in a restaurant.
The exact wording of the poll was “Would you favor or oppose businesses requiring people to show proof of coronavirus/Covid-19 vaccination in order to do the following over the next several months?” The poll offered a multitude of scenarios, such as traveling by airplane, staying in a hotel, attending events with large crowds, dining in a restaurant, and going to an office or work site.
In sharp contrast, Democrats feel just as strongly in the opposite direction. A massive majority, 88%, are in support of a vaccine requirement for the workplace, climbing as high as 92% for Democrats already vaccinated. Support dips to 85% for other scenarios like going to a restaurant (among all Democrats, vaccinated or otherwise), which of course still constitutes a truly overwhelming majority of those Democrats polled.
Among those who identify as Independents, there is a very sharp split. There was 43% support for a vaccine requirement in the workplace, and 41% support for such proofs in the restaurant scenario.
The poll also broke down the responses by vaccination status. Among the vaccinated, lumping Republicans, Democrats, and Independents together, overall support for a vaccine requirement for work was 72%, compared to only 22% of the unvaccinated (again, of all 3 political groups polled). Support for vaccine proof dropped slightly to 68% for the restaurant scenario, however.
Nationwide, the numbers seem to suggest vaccine mandates have a slim majority, but as we see played out every day in the news, politicized vaccines combined with the non-voluntary nature of mandates have ensured that the topic remains bitterly divisive, with a very sizeable (just below 50%) minority in opposition. Vaccine mandates, even in very liberal, Democratic cities such as Seattle and Chicago, are struggling with significant opposition to requiring the vaccine (and sharing sufficient medical information to serve as proof of vaccination) as a condition for employment, even for public sector jobs directly controlled by city authorities.
Support for more vaccines and other Covid-19 related countermeasures may continue to increase, though, as another Gallup poll found that a clear majority, 68%, feel that the pandemic situation is getting worse, compared to 45% in July.
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