When President Joe Biden recently unveiled the White House's ambitious vaccine policy, many Republicans responded with apoplexy, deeming it an outrageous abuse. The latest national poll from Fox News suggests the GOP pushback, at least for now, hasn't persuaded most Americans.
Majorities support mask and vaccine mandates advocated by the Biden administration, as the coronavirus pandemic remains a top concern, according to the latest Fox News poll. Three-quarters of registered voters are "extremely" or "very" concerned about the pandemic (74 percent), a 5-point increase from August when 69 percent were worried.
Fox News' survey included several questions along these lines, and each suggested the American mainstream is more interested in ending the pandemic than the right's ideological agenda.
The poll asked respondents whether they favor or oppose:
- Schools requiring teachers and students to wear masks? 67 percent favor, 31 percent oppose
- Businesses requiring employees and customers to wear masks? 66 percent favor, 31 percent oppose
- Schools requiring teachers to be vaccinated? 61 percent favor, 36 percent oppose
- The government requiring all federal employees to be vaccinated? 58 percent, 40 oppose
- The federal government requiring companies with more than 100 employees mandate vaccinations or weekly testing for workers? 56 percent, 41 percent
- Businesses requiring employees to be vaccinated? 55 percent, 42 percent
- Cities and towns requiring all workers and customers to have proof of a coronavirus vaccine for indoor activities such as restaurants, gyms, and performances? 54 percent, 44 percent
To be sure, there are plenty of differences related to party, ideology, and educational levels, but the bottom line remains the same: Asked about a variety of policies designed to curtail the Covid-19 spread, a majority of Americans endorsed each of the measures.
As a policy matter, the results are encouraging, but as a political matter, they're also likely surprising to some GOP leaders. As we discussed last week, plenty of leading Republican officials, none of whom have a plan of their own to end the crisis, responded to Biden's plan as if it were somehow scandalous.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, for example, vowed to fight the administration "to the gates of hell." House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy declared in a written statement over the weekend, "NO VACCINE MANDATES."
By all appearances, GOP officials either assumed the American mainstream was already on Republicans' side or the party could help steer public attitudes with over-the-top condemnations.
The latest evidence suggests Republicans were wrong on both counts.