Politics and COVID: Why are Republicans more hesitant to get the vaccine?

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Credit: Erin Scott/Bloomberg
Credit: Erin Scott/Bloomberg

Unfortunately, a partisan split on receiving a Covid-19 vaccine has reemerged and widened over the last few months. This partisan gap could impact our capacity to keep the virus at bay given our deepening polarization, and needs to be continually addressed.

Take a look at polling from Axios/Ipsos and Gallup on coronavirus issues. They have polled frequently on the topic in recent months.

In an average of Axios/Ipsos polls taken in January and February, 74% of Democrats said they’d either been vaccinated, or were extremely or very likely to get vaccinated as soon it’s available to them. Just 51% of Republicans said the same thing. Independents were in the middle of these two groups at 61%.

When Gallup asked respondents whether they would agree to get vaccinated if the vaccine were available to them right now, the partisan gap stood at 40 points (91% for Democrats and 51% for Republicans) in their most recent poll.

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On the macro-level, geography is becoming a stronger predictor of voting behavior, with urban areas voting more Democratic and rural areas voting more Republican.

This fits with Kaiser Family Foundation polling consistently finding that respondents in rural areas are more likely to say they won’t get the vaccine — or only will if it is required. 

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