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Monmouth: Majority of Americans back vaccine, masking mandates

By Joey Fox, September 15 2021 11:00 am

According to a new Monmouth University Poll released today, a majority of Americans back vaccine and masking mandates in order to mitigate the spread of Covid. 

63% of poll respondents said that they supported instituting masking and social distancing guidelines, with 34% opposed – a sea change from Monmouth’s July poll, which found only 52% of respondents supportive of such policies. The resurgence of the pandemic, and in particular the virus’ Delta variant, in the intervening months likely played a role in the change. 

An even greater proportion of respondents supported mask mandates in schools, with 66% in favor and only 32% opposed.

The poll also gauged support for vaccine mandates in five separate cases: for school personnel, for students over 12, for health care workers, for federal employees, and for employees of federal contractors. In each case, a majority of respondents indicated support for requiring vaccines, though the ratio was far greater for school personnel (60-36%) and health care workers (63-36%) than it was for schoolchildren (51-44%).

Republican respondents were far more likely both to oppose vaccine and masking mandates, and to be unvaccinated themselves. Only 32% of Republicans said they supported masking and distancing requirements, and nearly three-quarters of vaccine-skeptical respondents were Republicans or lean towards the Republican Party.

President Joe Biden, meanwhile, posts a 52-43% approval rating for his handling of Covid, down from 55-38% in July. His high water mark for Covid approval was 62-31% in April, when vaccines became accessible to the general populace in all states and the end of the pandemic appeared close on the horizon.

The poll did not include breakdowns by state, but given that New Jersey is substantially more Democratic than the nation as a whole, the results likely spell bad news for Republican lieutenant gubernatorial nominee Jack Ciattarelli, who has made opposition to Gov. Phil Murphy’s Covid restrictions a key component of his platform. 

They also align with a Monmouth poll of New Jerseyans released nearly a month ago, which found that 62% of respondents in the state supported a school mask mandate. 

Ciattarelli, who personally supports getting the vaccine, has repeatedly slammed Murphy for requiring masks in schools, and has said he opposes vaccine mandates. If today’s and last month’s Monmouth poll results are accurate, a significant majority of New Jerseyans likely disagree with him.

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