Republicans are less likely to commit to getting vaccinated

Republicans are far less likely than Democrats to say they will be vaccinated against the coronavirus once a vaccine is ready. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, slightly more Republicans say they won’t be vaccinated as say they will, and nearly a third aren’t sure what they will do. Half of Democrats will get the vaccine. 

The contrast is even greater when looking at those who support each of the two major party candidates. Nearly three in five Biden supporters (59%) will get vaccinated, compared with fewer than a third of Trump supporters (20%).

There are several explanations for this. One in particular is the different levels of concern Americans have about contracting the virus itself. If you see yourself having little risk (or think the threat is overblown), that may mean not thinking vaccination is personally necessary. Fewer than half of Republicans (43%) are even somewhat worried about the possibility of personally contracting the virus. Three in four Democrats are somewhat or very worried. Republicans who are worried are more likely than Republicans who are not worried to accept the vaccine. Nearly half of Republicans who are concerned about contracting the virus say they will be vaccinated; fewer than one in four of those who aren’t worried say the same.

There is also the matter of trusting a vaccine that has been fast-tracked. Nearly three in four Americans say they are concerned about the safety of a fast-tracked vaccine. On this question, there isn’t much difference between Republicans and Democrats (70% and 78% are concerned, respectively).

But the difference is quite clear looking at the supporters of the two presidential candidates. Nearly two in three of the President’s supporters (64%) are concerned, but even more — 84 percent — of Biden supporters are. Only one in four of Americans who are very concerned say they will be vaccinated.

Only 4 percent of the public expects a vaccine to be available before November. Only 8 percent of Republicans expect a pre-election vaccine. Most Americans — including half of Republicans and two-thirds of Democrats — would distrust a vaccine that is available that early.

Republicans and the president’s supporters are the most trusting. But relatively few trust the vaccine completely. However, two-thirds of those who do are ready to get vaccinated.

See the toplines and tables results from this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between September 13 - 15, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.4% for the overall sample. 

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