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Most Parents Support School Mask Mandate

Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021

Majority of voters back UVA unvaxxed student disenrollment

West Long Branch, NJ – Two-thirds of Virginia voters, including parents of school-age children, support the state’s school mask mandate and many support Covid vaccinations for age-eligible children. The Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll also finds that a majority of voters back the University of Virginia’s decision to disenroll students who did not report their vaccination status. Gov. Ralph Northam  gets solid marks for his handling of the pandemic, but his overall job rating is somewhat lower.

Virginia voters are divided on whether the commonwealth’s schools should be fully open for in-person instruction this year (43%) or should offer a mix of in-person and remote instruction (41%). However, just 12% say they should be fully remote. Among parents of children under 18 years old, 49% say schools should be fully in person, 38% prefer a hybrid model, and 12% want fully remote instruction.

About two-thirds of registered voters (67%) – and parents specifically (64%) – support the requirement that students, teachers, and staff in Virginia schools wear face masks this year. In terms of a possible vaccine mandate, a majority of voters (58%) would approve of requiring children age 12 and older to be vaccinated in order to attend school in person. Just over half (52%) support the same requirement for school children under 12 years old if a vaccine is authorized for that age group in the coming months. Parents of school-age children are slightly less supportive – 49% approve of requiring vaccines for the middle to high school-age group and 43% would support that requirement for younger children – but there is still a measurable amount of support for vaccine mandates for school attendance.

“If you watch the news coverage you may think that the vast majority of Virginia parents want no masks and no remote learning options, when that is clearly not the case. These are just the most vocal folks. In fact, nearly half of all parents would support a vaccine mandate for school children,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

A majority (53%) of registered voters approve of the University of Virginia’s decision to disenroll students who refused to report whether they got a Covid vaccine or did not apply for an exemption. Another 43% disapprove.

Looking at efforts to control the pandemic in Virginia in general, 46% of voters say state government measures to slow the virus have been appropriate, while 27% say they have not gone far enough and 24% say these measures have gone too far. A clear majority (64%) support reinstituting general face mask and social distancing guidelines in the commonwealth, while 32% are opposed. Support for reinstating these measures comes from majorities of Democrats (89%) and independents (60%), but only 37% of Republicans.

Four in ten (40%) voters are very concerned about a family member becoming seriously ill from Covid. Still, significantly more (42%) say Virginia has been doing better than other states in handling the pandemic than say it has done worse (11%). Another 42% say it has been doing about the same.

Northam’s overall job rating stands at 48% approve and 42% disapprove, but he gets better marks on the pandemic specifically. Nearly 6 in 10 (59%) Virginia voters say Northam has done a good job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak while just 27% say he has done a bad job.

Currently, 77% of Virginia voters report receiving at least one Covid vaccine dose. Another 1% plan to get it as soon as possible and 6% are still waiting for other people to get vaccinated and see how it goes. Just over 1 in 10 voters (12%) say they will never get the vaccine if they can avoid it. Republicans (21%) and independents (14%) are more likely than Democrats (2%) to fall into the anti-vax group.  Regionally, the highest anti-vax sentiment is in the western part of the commonwealth (22%).

The Monmouth University Poll also finds that President Joe Biden earns a slightly negative job rating from Virginia voters – 46% approve and 49% disapprove.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from August 24 to 29, 2021 with 802 Virginia registered voters. 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 previously released.]

19.Do you approve or disapprove of the job Ralph Northam is doing as governor?

REGISTERED VOTERSAug.
2021
Approve48%
Disapprove42%
(VOL) No opinion9%
   (n)(802)

20.Do you approve or disapprove of the job Joe Biden is doing as president?

REGISTERED VOTERSAug.
2021
Approve46%
Disapprove49%
(VOL) No opinion5%
   (n)(802)

21.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?

REGISTERED VOTERSAug.
2021
Very concerned40%
Somewhat concerned31%
Not too concerned18%
Not at all concerned9%
(VOL) Has already happened1%
(VOL) Don’t know1%
   (n)(802)

22.Has Governor Northam done a good job or bad job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak?

REGISTERED VOTERSAug.
2021
Good job59%
Bad job27%
(VOL) Mixed, depends8%
(VOL) Don’t know5%
   (n)(802)

23.Do you think Virginia is doing better, worse, or about the same as other states in dealing with the pandemic?

REGISTERED VOTERSAug.
2021
Better42%
Worse11%
 About the same42%
(VOL) Don’t know5%
   (n)(802)

24.Have the measures taken by the Virginia state government to slow the spread of the virus been appropriate, have they gone too far, or have they not gone far enough?

REGISTERED VOTERSAug.
2021
Appropriate46%
Gone too far24%
Not gone far enough27%
(VOL) Don’t know3%
   (n)(802)

25.Do you support or oppose reinstituting face mask and social distancing guidelines in Virginia at the current time? [Do you support/oppose that strongly or somewhat?]

REGISTERED VOTERSAug.
2021
Strongly support49%
Somewhat support15%
Somewhat oppose11%
Strongly oppose21%
(VOL) Don’t know4%
   (n)(802)

26.Based on where we stand right now, do you think Virginia schools should be fully open for in-person instruction, have a mixture of remote and in-person instruction, or should they be fully remote?

REGISTERED VOTERSAug.
2021
Fully in person43%
Mixture remote and in person41%
Fully remote12%
(VOL) Don’t know5%
   (n)(802)

27.The state is requiring that students, teachers, and staff in all Virginia schools wear face masks this year. Do you approve or disapprove of this decision?

REGISTERED VOTERSAug.
2021
Approve67%
Disapprove30%
(VOL) Depends2%
(VOL) Don’t know2%
   (n)(802)

28.Would you approve or disapprove of requiring children who are age 12 and older to get the Covid vaccine in order to attend school in person?

REGISTERED VOTERSAug.
2021
Approve58%
Disapprove36%
(VOL) Depends3%
(VOL) Don’t know3%
   (n)(802)

29.The vaccine may also be authorized for children under age 12 in the coming months. If that happens, would you approve or disapprove of requiring children under age 12 to get the Covid vaccine in order to attend school in person?

REGISTERED VOTERSAug.
2021
Approve52%
Disapprove41%
(VOL) Depends4%
(VOL) Don’t know4%
   (n)(802)

30.The University of Virginia recently disenrolled some students who refused to report whether they got a Covid vaccine and did not apply for an exemption. Do you approve or disapprove of the university’s decision to disenroll these students?

REGISTERED VOTERSAug.
2021
Approve53%
Disapprove43%
(VOL) Depends1%
(VOL) Don’t know3%
   (n)(802)

31.Have you, yourself, received at least one dose of Covid vaccine, or not? [If NOT:] Do you plan to get the Covid vaccine as soon as possible, will you continue to let other people get it first to see how it goes, or is it likely you will never get the vaccine if you can avoid it?

REGISTERED VOTERSAug.
2021
Already received vaccine77%
As soon as possible1%
See how it goes6%
Likely will never get vaccine12%
(VOL) Don’t know4%
(n)(802)

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from August 24 to 29, 2021 with a statewide random sample of 802 Virginia voters drawn from a list of registered voters. This includes 227 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 575 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for party primary voting history, age, gender, race, education, and region based on state voter registration list information and U.S. Census information (CPS 2018 supplement). Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and Aristotle (voter sample). For results based on the full voter 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.

VA Regions:

NoVa – Loudon, Fairfax, Arlington, and Prince William counties and included cities.

Tidewater – counties and cities along the Chesapeake Bay and tributary rivers (James, York, Rappahannock), including Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, Newport News and Norfolk.

Richmond/I-95 – Counties and cities that straddle either side of I-95, including Richmond.

West – the area west of a north-south line from Clarke/Fauquier to Mecklenburg counties.

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
REGISTERED VOTERS
 
Self-Reported Party ID
29% Republican
37% Independent
34% Democrat
 
48% Male
52% Female
 
21% 18-34
34% 35-54
45% 55+
 
67% White, non-Hispanic
19% Black
  6% Hispanic
  8% Asian/Other
 
59% No degree
41% 4 year degree

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

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs