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COVID-19 Coronavirus. Photo courtesy of Alachua County Board of Health.

Most New Jersey Republicans won’t take COVID-19 vaccine, poll finds

Just 40% of GOP, 47% of independents plan to accept virus innoculation

By Nikita Biryukov, December 08 2020 9:52 am

Only 60% of New Jersey would agree to take a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a poll released by the Change Research poll commissioned by a Newark-based non-profit last month.

Democrats, at 80%, are twice as likely to take a vaccine against the novel coronavirus than Republicans, only 40% of whom said the same. Independents trended closer to the Republicans. Only 47% of them said they’d take a no-cost vaccine.

Roughly a third of Republicans who said they would not take a COVID-19 vaccine, 34%, said they did not trust vaccines generally. Another 24% said they wanted to wait to ensure the vaccine’s safety, while 11% worried about a rushed timeline.

Independents were less distrustful of vaccines, though 31% said they were concerned about the safety of COVID-19 inoculations.

More than a third of Democrats, 34%, shared those concerns, with an additional 27% worrying over the hurried development of vaccines against the virus.

There’s also a racial gape on vaccine trust, albeit a relatively narrow one. While 37% of white voters, and 39% of Black voters said they would not agree to take the vaccine, 45% of Hispanic voters told pollsters the same.

The differences were starker among Democrats. Only 11% of the party’s white members told pollsters they would not agree to a vaccination, while 36% of non-white Democrats said the same.

“Despite the devastating and disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on communities of color, they’re also the least likely to say they will agree to be vaccinated,” said Shennell McCloud, executive director of Project Ready, which commissioned the poll. “Our leaders must take notice that there aren’t just partisan differences driving these reactions and commit to dedicating the resources to educate our neighbors regarding vaccines.”

Voters over the age of 65 — the group most vulnerable to the virus — were the most likely to agree to a vaccination, though a little more than a quarter, 26% said they would forgo a COVID-19 inoculation. The remaining 74% indicated they’d agree to be vaccinated.

Most, 61%, voters said the pandemic had taken a toll on their finances, though that number was slightly higher for Black, 73%, and Hispanic, 70%, voters than it was White voters, 57%.

Half of Black voters said someone in their household lost a job during the pandemic, compared to 39% of Hispanic respondents and 28% of White ones.

Still, voters gave the state’s handling of the crisis positive marks, even if they did so by a relatively narrow margin.

A little more than half, 52%, said the state’s government had done a good or excellent job managing the pandemic, while 46% said the opposite.

The results split sharply along partisan lines. More than 90% of Democrats gave the state’s response positive marks, while only 10% of Republicans did the same. The state’s response was underwater among independent voters, 41%-55%.

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