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Shifting Support for Some, But Not All, Covid Mandates

Monday, March 28, 2022

Concerns about illness go down as reported infections go up

West Long Branch, NJ – Support for Covid-19 face-mask and social distancing guidelines has dropped from half of the public to just a third in the past two months as a large majority of Americans endorse the C.D.C. relaxing its recommendations. At the same time, a little under half of the public backs workplace vaccine mandates, a number that has not moved since January. The latest Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll also finds waning concern about family members becoming ill from the virus at the same time as more people report testing positive for Covid sometime during the pandemic.

More than 3 in 4 Americans (77%) endorse the C.D.C. relaxing its face mask and social distancing recommendations in areas with low Covid rates. Just 34% of the public supports instituting or reinstituting face mask and social distancing guidelines in their state at the current time, which is down significantly from 52% in January. At the same time, support for requiring people to show proof of vaccination in order to work in an office or around people has held steady – 44% now and 43% in January. A majority of Democrats continue to back vaccine (69%) and mask (60%) mandates, while at the same time saying they support the C.D.C. relaxing its Covid guidance (67%).

Regardless of where they stand now, half of the American public (50%) would prefer to see the government continue to adjust Covid guidelines and mandates in response to different variants as they arise. Another 14% want to settle on a consistent set of protocols from this point forward and 34% want to do away with all Covid regulations and mandates. Most Democrats want to maintain flexibility (82%) while most Republicans want to do away with all Covid regulations (67%).

Overall, 73% of Americans agree with the sentiment that “it’s time we accept that Covid is here to stay and we just need to get on with our lives” – which is similar to 70% who felt this way in January. Within this group who want to move on, identical numbers actually prefer adjusting Covid guidelines in response to new variants (42%) as say they want no regulations at all (42%). Another 14% of those who say it is time to get on with life want to choose a consistent set of guidelines.

“We asked the same question about accepting Covid is here to stay two months ago and got a similarly high number who want to get on with life. Our working hypothesis was that many people who support mandates simply wanted consistency in the guidelines. This new data suggests that is not necessarily the case. For some Americans, getting on with life means constantly being on guard and ready to reinstitute restrictions as new situations emerge,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The number of people who are very concerned about a family member becoming seriously ill from the virus (23%) has dropped to its lowest point since last June (also 23%). This marks a 15-point decrease over the past two months (38% in January). The biggest drop in this concern has occurred among Democrats (30% now compared with 61% two months ago). At the same time, 38% of American adults report having tested positive for Covid (up from 27% in January). Another 14% say they were diagnosed without a test or believe they had the disease at some point during the pandemic.

Vaccine uptake, particularly getting a booster shot, has stalled and the poll finds the rate is unlikely to improve by much. Currently, just under half (48%) of adults report having received a Covid booster dose while one-third (33%) say they are not at all likely to get it. 

Ratings for how different groups in the country have been handling the pandemic have ticked up over the past two months, including for President Joe Biden (49% good job, up from 43% in January), federal health agencies (53%, up from 46%), state governors (59%, up from 54%), and the American public (35%, up from 29%).

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 10 to 14, 2022 with 809 adults in the United States.  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.)

[Q1-18 & Q20-29 previously released.]

[Q19 held.]

30.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:March
2022
Jan.
2022
Dec.
2021
Nov.
2021
Sept.
2021
July
2021
June
2021
March
2021
Jan.
2021
  Very concerned23%38%30%34%45%30%23%40%60%
  Somewhat concerned26%24%30%27%24%23%19%28%19%
  Not too concerned26%19%20%22%17%21%24%14%12%
  Not at all concerned24%17%19%15%12%24%32%16%7%
  (VOL) Don’t know0%0%0%1%1%0%1%0%0%
  (VOL) Has already happened1%1%1%1%1%2%1%2%2%
(n)(809)(794)(808)(811)(802)(804)(810)(802)(809)
      TREND: ContinuedNov.
2020
Early Sept.
2020
Aug.
2020
Late June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
  Very concerned50%47%41%41%37%42%50%38%
  Somewhat concerned25%27%28%26%32%28%33%32%
  Not too concerned13%13%18%17%14%14%9%18%
  Not at all concerned10%12%13%15%16%16%7%12%
  (VOL) Don’t know0%0%0%0%0%0%0%0%
  (VOL) Has already happened1%0%1%1%0%0%0%n/a
(n)(810)(867)(868)(867)(807)(808)(857)(851)

31.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?]

    TREND:March
2022
Jan.
2022
Yes, confirmed with a test38%27%
Yes, given the diagnosis without a test4%2%
Yes, just knew had Covid10%11%
No, have not had Covid47%59%
(VOL) Don’t know2%1%
  (n)(809)(794)

32.Please tell me if each of the following has done a good job or bad job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.  [ITEMS WERE ROTATED]

 TREND: Good
Job
Bad
Job
(VOL) Mixed,
depends
(VOL) Don’t
know

(n)
President Biden49%47%2%2%(809)
   — January 202243%53%3%1%(794)
   — December 202146%46%4%4%(808)
   — November 202153%41%2%3%(811)
   — September 202152%43%4%1%(802)
   — July 202155%38%4%3%(804)
   — June 202159%32%4%5%(810)
   — April 202162%31%3%3%(800)
   — March 202157%31%3%8%(802)
   — January 202158%23%5%15%(809)
      
Your state’s governor59%36%3%3%(809)
   — January 202254%41%3%2%(794)
   — December 202150%41%5%3%(808)
   — November 202160%35%3%3%(811)
   — September 202156%38%3%3%(802)
   — July 202154%42%3%2%(804)
   — June 202158%33%5%4%(810)
   — April 202162%34%3%2%(800)
   — March 202156%38%3%2%(802)
   — January 202157%38%3%2%(809)
   — Early September 202061%35%3%1%(867)
   — August 202057%35%5%3%(868)
   — Late June 202065%28%5%2%(867)
   — Early June 202067%28%3%1%(807)
   — May 202073%22%3%2%(808)
   — April 202072%21%4%3%(857)
   — March 202072%18%4%6%(851)
      
The American public35%54%8%2%(809)
   — January 202229%58%9%3%(794)
   — December 202127%56%12%5%(808)
   — November 202135%55%7%3%(811)
   — September 202123%65%10%2%(802)
   — July 202132%51%12%5%(804)
   — June 202142%40%14%4%(810)
   — April 202143%44%10%4%(800)
   — March 202135%53%11%1%(802)
   — January 202132%60%6%2%(809)
   — Early September 202031%57%10%2%(867)
   — August 202026%62%11%1%(868)
   — Late June 202028%59%11%3%(867)
   — Early June 202046%43%8%2%(807)
   — May 202051%33%13%2%(808)
   — April 202038%48%12%2%(857)
   — March 202038%45%14%3%(851)
      
Health agencies in the federal government53%41%4%2%(809)
   — January 202246%47%5%2%(794)
   — December 202148%41%6%5%(808)
   — November 202153%38%5%4%(811)
   — September 202152%38%6%3%(802)
   — July 202157%33%7%3%(804)
   — June 202155%33%6%5%(810)
   — April 2021n/an/an/an/an/a
   — March 202150%37%8%5%(802)
   — January 202152%40%6%3%(809)
   — Early September 2020n/an/an/an/an/a
   — August 202046%43%6%4%(868)
   — Late June 2020n/an/an/an/an/a
   — Early June 202057%34%5%3%(807)
   — May 202063%25%7%4%(808)
   — April 202066%25%4%4%(857)
   — March 202065%24%8%4%(851)
      
      

33.Do you support or oppose instituting, or reinstituting, face mask and social distancing guidelines in your state at the current time?

    TREND:March
2022
Jan.
2022
Dec.
2021
Sept.
2021
July
2021
Support34%52%55%63%52%
Oppose62%45%42%34%46%
(VOL) Depends3%1%2%2%n/a
(VOL) Don’t know1%2%2%1%2%
(n)(809)(794)(808)(802)(804)

34.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?

    TREND:March
2022
Jan.
2022
Dec.
2021
Nov.
2021
Sept.
2021
Support44%43%46%51%53%
Oppose55%53%50%47%45%
(VOL) Depends1%2%2%2%2%
(VOL) Don’t know0%2%2%1%1%
(n)(809)(794)(808)(811)(802)

35.The C.D.C. recently relaxed its recommendations on the need for face masks and social distancing in areas with a low Covid rate. Do you support or oppose relaxing these recommendations?

   March
2022
Support77%
Oppose21%
(VOL) Depends1%
(VOL) Don’t know1%
(n)(809)

36.Do you tend to agree or disagree with the following statement: “It’s time we accept that Covid is here to stay and we just need to get on with our lives.”?

    TREND:March
2022
Jan.
2022
Agree73%70%
Disagree25%28%
(VOL) Depends2%2%
(VOL) Don’t know1%1%
(n)(809)(794)

37.Would you prefer the government to continue to adjust Covid guidelines and mandates in response to different variants as they arise, to settle on a consistent set of Covid guidelines and mandates that we will use from this point forward, or to have no Covid regulations and mandates?

 March
2022
Continue to adjust guidelines/mandates50%
Settle on a consistent set of guidelines/mandates14%
Have no guidelines/mandates34%
(VOL) Don’t know1%
(n)(809)

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

    TREND:March
2022
Jan.
2022
Dec.
2021
Nov.
2021
Sept.
2021
July
2021
June
2021
April
2021
Yes78%77%78%80%75%68%66%51%
No 21%20%20%18%21%28%33%48%
(VOL) Don’t know 1%4%2%3%4%4%1%1%
(n)(809)(794)(808)(811)(802)(804)(810)(800)

39.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?

    TREND:March
2022
Jan.
2022
Dec.
2021
Nov.
2021
Sept.
2021
Already received booster48%45%24%10%*1%*
Very likely8%11%27%41%51%
Somewhat likely4%7%13%14%16%
Not too likely5%7%6%8%6%
Not at all likely **33%30%27%25%26%
(VOL) Don’t know1%0%1%2%1%
(n)(809)(794)(808)(811)(802)

* September/November 2021 polls did not specifically ask if person already got the booster, but included it as a volunteered response.

** Prior to March 2022, this includes results to a previous question on likelihood of getting any dose of the vaccine.

[Q40 previously released.]

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from March 10 to 14, 2022 with a probability-based national random sample of 809 adults age 18 and older. This includes 278 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 531 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English. Telephone numbers were selected through a mix of random digit dialing and list-based sampling. Landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Interviewing services were provided by Braun Research, with sample obtained from Dynata (RDD, n=545), Aristotle (list, n=140) and a panel of prior Monmouth poll participants (n=124). 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). 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.

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
Self-Reported
29% Republican
43% Independent
28% Democrat
 
49% Male
51% Female
 
30% 18-34
32% 35-54
38% 55+
 
63% White
13% Black
16% Hispanic
  8% Asian/Other
 
70% No degree
30% 4 year degree

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

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs