The American people are overwhelmingly opposed to vaccine mandates and believe that the decision on whether to get vaccinated against COVID-19 should be a "personal choice," according to a new national survey.
A nationwide issues survey of likely general election voters conducted by the Trafalgar Group in partnership with Convention of States Action found that 71.4% of respondents said taking COVID-19 vaccines should be a personal choice. Just 21.8% said vaccination should be mandatory, while 6.8% were unsure.
Rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the U.S. have in recent weeks prompted public health experts to express concerns that too few Americans are getting vaccinated. Some Biden administration officials, such as President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, have called for vaccine mandates as a solution.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average number of new cases has risen to about 27,000 per day, up 7,000 new cases over the previous week. More than 8 in 10 of new COVID cases were caused by the Delta variant, a coronavirus strain from India that is more contagious than other variants but not more severe.
At the same time, the 7-day average of vaccine doses being administered in the United States has fallen to an estimated 530,000 per day. According to the New York Times vaccine tracker, only 48.6% of Americans are fully vaccinated and just 56.1% have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Public health officials believe 70%-90% of Americans need to be vaccinated before the country can achieve herd immunity, which would enable a full return to the pre-pandemic normal.
The Biden administration has blamed misinformation on social media for remaining vaccine hesitancy. Biden recently called for a door-to-door volunteer effort to reach out to unvaccinated people in targeted communities and attempt to persuade them to get vaccinated. Recent polling suggests that such an effort would only be marginally successful, as majorities of unvaccinated Americans say there is nothing that could convince them to get the COVID-19 shots.
If efforts to persuade the unvaccinated fail, public health officials predict vaccine mandates may be put into effect by businesses and government agencies once the FDA grants full approval to one or more of the vaccines.
But the Trafalgar Group poll indicates there would be strong bipartisan opposition to such mandates.
Republicans are almost uniformly opposed to vaccine mandates, with 87.3% of those surveyed saying taking a COVID vaccine should be a personal choice. Only 7.2% of Republicans said the vaccines should be mandatory and 5.5% were unsure.
But a majority of Democrats are also opposed to vaccine mandates. Just 33% of Democrats say the vaccines should be mandatory while 58.7% say getting vaccinated should be a personal choice.
Those who declined to identify with either major party were also opposed to vaccine mandates, with 67.2% saying vaccination should be a personal choice and 26.5% answering they should be mandatory.
Mark Meckler, president of Convention of States, discussed the poll results with BlazeTV host Steve Deace on Tuesday.
"What it shows is the American people still by and large, including Democrats, are people who think for themselves. They're not listening to the hundreds of millions of posts on social media pushed by Facebook and all these other tyrannical oligarchs, they're listening to their own judgment and they trust their own judgment," said Meckler.
"Overall, it's very hopeful in seeing that people are still self-governing folks in the United States," he added.