Democrats grow more wary of COVID-19 vaccine safety

Linley SandersData Journalist
November 09, 2020, 1:00 PM UTC

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to be worried about a fast-tracked COVID-19 vaccine. 

According to a new Economist/YouGov Poll, Democrats are 30-points more likely than Republicans to be worried about the speed of vaccine development (90% vs 60%). Democrats’ concern about the eventual vaccine’s safety has increased steadily from 79% in mid-July — when the United States hit its prior high of coronavirus cases — to 90% in recent weeks.  

Most Republicans are also concerned about the rapid development of an immunization, but far less than Democrats. About two-thirds (64%) of Republicans were concerned in July, a number that rose to 74% in August. It dipped to about half (51%) in late October before increasing to 60% this week. 

Even as COVID-19 cases continue to rise to record-breaking levels, only two in five (43%) Democrats are now certain they will get vaccinated against the virus. In July, three in five (60%) Democrats said they would, a number that plummeted in mid-September (53% to 40%) around the same time that President Donald Trump said that a vaccine would be arriving in October or November. 

That number has remained in the low-40s since. That drop from majority support for a vaccination has brought Democrats more in-line with the number of Independents (44%) and Republicans (39%) who say they will get vaccinated when the time comes. 

Most registered voters (56%) and Democrats (74%) anticipate a COVID-19 vaccine arriving sometime next year, with just one in 12 Democrats (8%) and a quarter of registered voters (25%) believing a vaccine could be ready by the end of 2020.  

Likely influenced by President Trump’s claims that a vaccine would be available in late 2020, Republicans are more optimistic that a drug will be ready this year. Approaching half (46%) expect a vaccine in 2020, compared to 36% who predict it will arrive in 2021. 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week's Economist/YouGov Poll 

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 registered voters interviewed online between October 31 - November 2, 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 3.0% for the overall sample. 

Image: Getty