Vaccination fears rise, especially among Democrats

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
September 26, 2020, 1:00 PM UTC

Americans have become less willing to say they will get vaccinated against COVID-19. In this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll, even Democrats, who had been the most willing to accept a coronavirus vaccine, are becoming more hesitant. In the last week, the share of Democrats willing to be vaccinated, has dropped ten points (from 49% to 39%), to its lowest level ever since the question was first asked in mid-July.
What changed their minds? Concern about the fast-tracking of vaccines clearly bothered some Democrats. This week, 55 percent of Democrats reported being very concerned about the safety of a fast-tracked vaccine, the first time a majority of Democrats have said this. Only 12 percent of Democrats would trust a vaccine that was distributed before the election, half the percentage overall who say this (24%). Three-quarters of Democrats would distrust such a vaccine (75%). 

While hardly any Americans believe there actually will be a vaccine available by election day (just 3% expect this will be the case), the president’s voters do think they will see one by the end of the year. More than half of Trump voters (53%) say a vaccine will be ready by the end of 2020, more than double the 26 percent of the overall public that expect that to happen. 
Republicans are more trusting of a pre-election vaccine. Two in five of them would trust one, which is higher than the percentage of Republicans who would be willing to be vaccinated. Trust makes a difference in accepting the safety of a vaccine. A majority of those with complete or some trust in vaccine safety would get vaccinated; those who distrust an election day vaccine would not. Democrats are more willing than Republicans to get the vaccine in every level of trust in a vaccine’s safety.

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 20 - 22, 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 3.6% for the overall sample.  

Image: Getty