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Covid Concerns Decline

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Only one-third support bringing back social distancing guidelines

West Long Branch, NJ – Support for face mask and social distancing guidelines in New Jersey has dropped significantly since the fall. Less than half of the state supports workplace vaccine mandates according to the Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll. Concern about Covid illness is at an all-time low as many report having been infected with the virus themselves. The poll also finds New Jerseyans give good grades to the governor and the state as a whole for handling the pandemic.

Only 1 in 3 (34%) New Jerseyans support reinstituting general face mask and social distancing guidelines in New Jersey. Another 64% are opposed. This is a reversal from polls taken last fall, when more than 6 in 10 voters in the state backed bringing back these measures. Support for reinstituting these Covid guidelines has declined among every partisan group, but the largest drop has occurred among Democrats – from 89% who supported these measures in September to 50% who back them now.

Just under half of the state (45%) supports requiring proof of Covid vaccination to work in an office or other setting around people. A slight majority (52%) opposes such a workplace vaccine mandate.  There is a wide partisan gap on this measure, ranging from 72% of Democrats to just 17% of Republicans who support it.

Garden State support levels for both social distancing and masking guidelines and workplace vaccination mandates are nearly identical to national public opinion results from a poll Monmouth conducted last month.

“There’s a combination of factors at play here. The delta variant was not as bad as predicted while the omicron surge made it seem as if infection was inescapable. New Jerseyans are willing to get boosted themselves, but that may be the best they can do against future waves,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

About 1 in 4 New Jerseyans (23%) are very concerned about a family member becoming seriously ill from the coronavirus outbreak. This is down from about 4 in 10 who felt the same throughout last year and 6 in 10 who expressed this concern in the first months of the pandemic. At the same time, about half the adults polled report having Covid or thinking they had Covid at some point, including 38% who say their infection was confirmed with a test. Both findings for New Jersey – confirmed infection prevalence and concern about family illness – are identical to recent national poll results.

About 6 in 10 New Jersey adults (59%) report having already received a booster shot of the Covid vaccine. [Note: this number appears to be a little higher than CDC reporting, but there is some confusion over the population bases used to calculate booster rates which could contribute to the difference.] At the other end of the spectrum, 24% say they are not at all likely to get a booster. Garden State residents are somewhat more willing to get the booster than all Americans on average (48% already boosted versus 33% not at all likely in a March national poll).

In New Jersey, anxiety about a family member getting seriously ill from Covid has declined over the past year by 22 points among Democrats (from 52% very concerned in May 2021 to 30% now), by 15 points among Republicans (from 27% to 12%), by 11 points among white residents (from 29% to 18%), and by 20 points among people of color (from 50% to 30%). Republicans (46%) are much more likely than Democrats (8%) to be not at all likely to get a Covid vaccine booster shot. There is less difference by race in opposition to getting this additional dose – 28% of white New Jerseyans are not at all likely compared with 19% of Black, Hispanic, and Asian residents.

Gov. Phil Murphy continues to receive broadly positive reviews for his handling of the Covid outbreak, with 67% who say he has done a good job and just 25% who say he has done a bad job. His pandemic rating has never dropped below 60% positive since the pandemic started two years ago.

Just over half of the public (53%) says New Jersey has done better than other states in dealing with the pandemic. Just 14% say it has done worse and 31% say it has done about the same as other states. These results are basically in line with Monmouth polls taken last year.

“Murphy’s handling of the pandemic has always been a source of strength in public opinion about the governor. It just wasn’t the most important issue when voters went to the polls last November,” said Murray.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 31 to April 4, 2022 with 802 New Jersey adults.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1 & Q21-37 held for future release.]

[Q2-20 previously released.]

38.How concerned are you about someone in your family becoming seriously ill from the coronavirus outbreak – very concerned, somewhat concerned, not too concerned, or not at all concerned?

TREND: April
2022
Sept.
2021*
Aug.
2021*
May
2021
April
2020
Very concerned23%43%43%38%60%
Somewhat concerned27%27%25%24%26%
Not too concerned26%17%17%19%8%
Not at all concerned23%12%12%17%5%
(VOL) Has already happened1%1%1%2%1%
(VOL) Don’t know0%1%1%0%0%
   (n)(802)(804)(810)(706)(704)

       * Registered voters

39.At any time during the pandemic, did you ever have Covid or think you had Covid? [If YES: Was your Covid status confirmed with a test, were you given the diagnosis by a medical professional without a test, or did you just know you had Covid?]

 April
2022
Yes, confirmed with a test38%
Yes, given the diagnosis without a test2%
Yes, just knew had Covid9%
No, have not had Covid50%
(VOL) Don’t know1%
 (n)(802)

40.Has Governor Murphy done a good job or bad job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak?

TREND:April
2022
Sept.
2021*
Aug.
2021*
May
2021
April
2020
Good job67%62%61%66%79%
Bad job25%27%28%27%10%
(VOL) Mixed, depends5%6%6%6%7%
(VOL) Don’t know2%5%6%1%3%
   (n)(802)(804)(810)(706)(704)

            * Registered voters

41.Has New Jersey done better, worse, or about the same as other states in dealing with the pandemic?

TREND:April
2022
Aug.
2021*+
May
2021+
Better53%51%53%
Worse14%17%23%
 About the same31%27%23%
(VOL) Don’t know2%5%1%
   (n)(802)(810)(706)

       * Registered voters
       + Question wording was “Do you think New Jersey is doing…”

42.Do you support or oppose reinstituting face mask and social distancing guidelines in New Jersey at the current time?

TREND:April
2022
Sept.
2021*
Aug.
2021*
Support34%61%62%
Oppose64%36%35%
(VOL) Depends2%n/an/a
(VOL) Don’t know1%4%3%
   (n)(802)(804)(810)

       * Registered voters

43.Do you support or oppose requiring people to show proof of vaccination in order to go to work in an office or setting where they are around other people?

 April
2022
Support45%
Oppose52%
(VOL) Depends2%
(VOL) Don’t know1%
 (n)(802)

44.Have you received at least one dose of Covid vaccine, or not?

TREND: April
2021
Sept.
2021*
Aug.
2021*
May
2021
Yes 80%84%79%63%
No 18%14%17%36%
(VOL) Don’t know2%2%5%2%
(n)(802)(804)(810)(706)

       * Registered voters

45.Have you received a booster shot of the Covid vaccine, or not? [If NOT:] How likely are you to get a booster shot of the vaccine – very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not at all likely?

April
2022
Already received booster59%
Very likely4%
Somewhat likely5%
Not too likely6%
Not at all likely24%
(VOL) Don’t know1%
   (n)(802)

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from March 31 to April 4, 2022 with a probability-based random sample of 802 New Jersey adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 280 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 522 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone. Telephone numbers were selected through random digit dialing and landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2018 one-year survey). Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and Dynata (RDD sample).  For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

NJ Regions (by county)

North – Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Union, Warren

Central – Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset

South – Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, Salem

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
Self-Reported
24% Republican
40% Independent
36% Democrat
 
49% Male
51% Female
 
28% 18-34
34% 35-54
38% 55+
 
58% White
12% Black
19% Hispanic
11% Asian/Other
 
61% No degree
39% 4 year degree

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs