Americans broadly support Biden’s aggressive vaccination push despite GOP pushback
In general terms, a new CNN-SSRS poll released Monday found that more than half of Americans support the kind of vaccination initiatives included in Biden’s new venture.
A majority of Americans are in favor of vaccinations for field workers (54%), students studying in person (55%), and those who visit large public venues for sporting events and concerts (55%). Support for such mandates has increased in recent months, with mandates for staff and event attendees increasing by 8 points since April and mandates for students by 6 points since April.
The CNN-SSRS poll, conducted in August, found widespread consensus that the pandemic is not over yet. 86% agreed and 64% said they would continue to engage in containment measures in day-to-day activities.
The truth is that President Biden’s efforts to roll back the pandemic rely less on mandates than on vaccination campaigns with an opt-out mechanism. At the heart of his new plan – requiring employers with 100+ employees to either vaccinate or test their workforce – is not a strict vaccination mandate. As Washington Post’s Aaron Blake notes, “You might as well call it a test mandate with a vaccination opt-out. “
Test mandates seem to be even more popular than vaccine mandates. January survey of test mandates carried out by Harvard University’s TH Chan School of Public Health and the COVID Collaborative found an overwhelming 79% support for employers requiring their workers to perform rapid antigen tests to gain access to the workplace.
Blake’s point was that while Republicans rail against Biden’s “mandates,” even the most far-reaching initiative by the president is not a mandate, as it includes the ability for workers to vote tests instead of receiving the push. Biden also did nothing in relation to massive public events or students. Instead, he pleaded with major entertainment venues to require proof of vaccination upon entry and urged states to require all teachers to be vaccinated. However, Biden does mandate vaccinations for all employees at government-run schools and Head Start programs.
Recent swing-state polls by a pro-biden super-PAC also found about two-thirds support for employers requiring their employees to be vaccinated.
Republicans believe they can benefit from Biden’s vaccination campaign at next year’s halftime game. It remains to be seen, however, whether a radicalized GOP base will emerge in greater numbers than the silent majority of Americans who support Biden’s new initiatives.