What's the best determinant as to whether someone is an anti-vaxxer? Take a guess.
With the pace of Americans getting vaccinated slowing down to the point that we're not gonna quite meet President Biden's 4th of July target nationally (70% of adults receiving their first COVID-19 vaccination shot), there's a whole lot of hand-wringing about how much of the problem is access (i.e., people not being able to get time off of work, not having transportation to the clinic to get the shot, etc), how much of it is hesitancy (concerns about safety/efficacy, etc), and how much of it is about...well, to put it gently, being a lost or damaged soul.
Well, a new poll conducted by YouGov for Yahoo News may help answer that question (h/t Richard Skinner for the heads up). The poll, of nearly 1,600 U.S. adults, was conducted from June 22 - 24th. I've reformatted the relevant question below to fit better on this site.
The actual question as worded was: "How would you describe your personal situation regarding COVID-19 vaccines?"
The responses are...telling:
(sigh) And there you have it. Yes, there are plenty of folks who can still be reached via continuing education, persuasion and access efforts; 17% of those still uninsured say they do plan on getting vaccinated and another 27% say they're "not sure" yet for one reason or another.
However, according to this survey at least, a full 45% of unvaccinated U.S. adults say that they will not get vaccinated. Not "they might not" or "they probably won't" or "they're waiting a bit" but they refuse.
There's around 259 million adults 18 and older in the U.S. As of today, the CDC reports that almost exactly 2/3 of them have gotten at least their first dose (~172 million). That leaves around 87 million who haven't done so yet. According to this survey, roughly 39.2 million of them simply refuse to do so, period.
Obviously some people may be lying. Then again, some folks in the other categories may be as well.
So, who are these people? Well, there's a bunch of different demographic breakouts, and there's cause for concern in all of them: Gender, Age, Race and Income levels are all represented.
However, the biggest factors by far in this survey are Party Identification and Who you voted for in 2020:
- 30% of Republicans still refuse to #GetVaxxed, as well as 21% of Independents...vs. only 5% of Democrats
- 32% of Trump voters still refuse to #GetVaxxed...vs. just 3% of Biden voters
Joe Biden received ~81.3 million votes last fall. Donald Trump received 74.2 million.
That means, assuming this poll is relatively accurate and representative, there's around 2.44 million Biden voters who are apparently unreachable...but 23.75 million Trump voters who fall into that category. The other ~13 million refuseniks presumably voted 3rd party or didn't vote at all.
(I should note that some of these folks may not be able to get vaccinated due to being immunocompromised or allergic to the vaccine; that isn't separated out as a category in the survey.)
The good news is that the other 55% of those ~87 million adults are gettable: Again, 11% say they've gotten their first shot, so it's just a matter of making sure they follow up with the 2nd one; 17% say they plan to do so (get a move on, folks! the Delta variant is upon us!), and 27%...or perhaps 23.5 million...are "gettable" with the right message, assistance, etc.