Axios-Ipsos poll: Six out of 10 voters back Biden vaccine mandates

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Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Note: Margin of error +/-3.2%; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

A majority of Americans — including suburban voters — support vaccine mandates for federal workers as well as private companies, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: The findings, on the heels of President Biden's mandates announcement last week, suggest that while his move was divisive, it may be politically safer than his opponents hope.

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What they're saying: "From a political perspective, he especially reinforces himself with independents," said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs.

  • "The No. 1 issue for Biden has been COVID, and he’s been losing ground on it, especially among independents ... it should stanch the bleeding ... this is an initiative that could help bolster him there."

  • However, "he wins no points with Republicans. He wins a lot of points with Democrats, but they already support him."

The big picture: Respondents were asked two separate questions: Do you support the federal government requiring all federal employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19? And do you support a federal government rule that requires all business with 100 or more employees to make all staff be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID testing?

  • Their overall responses were virtually identical: 42% strongly supported both; 18% somewhat supported both; 13%–14% somewhat opposed both; and 25%–26% strongly opposed both.

  • In other words, respondents didn't draw major distinctions between mandates for public or private employees.

Between the lines: The high concentrations of strong support and strong opposition reinforce the depth of polarization.

By the numbers: About seven in 10 urban respondents supported the mandates or testing requirements, compared with nearly six in 10 suburban voters — and a little less than half of rural voters.

  • About two-thirds of respondents 65 and older, or under 30, support the mandates — compared with a little more than half of those in between.

Between the lines: Pollsters also asked this week's respondents which of the following options should be the federal government's current COVID vaccine policy priority.

  • 38% said redoubling efforts to get remaining unvaccinated Americans vaccinated. (That included nearly half of vaccinated respondents, but only one in 10 unvaccinated respondents.)

  • 28% would prioritize booster shots for every American who wants one.

  • 19% would prioritize making shots accessible to people in developing countries.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted Sept. 10–13 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,065 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.

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