A poll released Thursday by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, or IGS, found that California Republicans are less likely to seek the COVID-19 vaccine.
In a joint effort with UC Berkeley’s Othering and Belonging Institute, the poll found that California Republicans were “less concerned” about catching COVID-19 themselves or following local health mandates, such as wearing facial coverings or social distancing. These voters were also less approving of public health policies intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 or support small businesses and workers impacted by COVID-19.
“We’re nonpartisan. We’re not working for any party or political affiliation, and so we included questions about the COVID pandemic,” said Mark DiCamillo, Berkeley IGS Poll director. “In the survey results, we saw striking distance, a difference between the attitudes and opinions of Republicans from those of the rest of the electorate.”
According to an IGS press release, questions asked in the poll included, “How concerned are you about getting the virus and then spreading it to other people?” as well as questions regarding the amount of support around the requirement of face coverings. The poll also asked, “Is getting vaccinated more a personal choice or everyone’s responsibility to protect the health of others?”
The survey found that 27% of Republicans expressed a “high level of concern” about contracting COVID-19 and spreading it while 45% were not very concerned or not concerned at all, according to the press release.
“Republicans feel otherwise, with 69% saying they believe getting vaccinated is more of a personal choice than a means of protecting the health of others,” the press release states.
The online poll involved 10,358 participants in a random sample of registered California voters that was further separated by age and gender, according to the press release. The poll was administered in English and Spanish during the week of Jan. 23.
Email addresses of the voters were obtained from Political Data, Inc., a supplier of voting data for California, which were taken from the state’s official voter registration database. According to the press release, voters’ email addresses and “all other personally identifiable information” were replaced by a unique and anonymous identification number to protect the identity of respondents.
According to DiCamillo, the results of the survey reflected the need to assist policymakers and the general public health community with addressing the pandemic. DiCamillo said he was prompted to release the results of the poll by disparities in how Republicans and the rest of the electorate behaved toward the COVID-19 pandemic, which he called “newsworthy.”
“The public health community has a big chore on their hands trying to deal with the pandemic and getting everybody safe,” DiCamillo said. “(Republicans) hold views that are less supportive of the public health policies that are trying to be implemented.”