Pew: Republicans slightly more likely than Democrats to say measles vaccine is safe

A little something for your bookmarks folder, so that you have it handy the next time someone in the media assures you that vaccine skepticism is a “Republican problem.”


Wait a sec. Haven’t we seen other polls recently claiming that Republicans are less likely than Dems to support vaccines? Not exactly: YouGov published a poll last week showing that GOPers were 14 points less likely to support making vaccines mandatory over parental objections. (Other groups, including Democratic stalwarts like young adults and black voters, were even less likely than Republicans to support doing so.) My theory after digesting that was that it was the mandate part, not the vaccine part, that righty dissenters took issue with. They weren’t skeptical that vaccines worked, in other words, they were reluctant to hand the government more power to compel certain medical treatments. Looking at today’s Pew poll, that theory seems solid. In fact, among the 20 demographic groups analyzed by Pew (race, gender, age, education, region, party, parent or not), the only group that tilts more heavily than Republicans towards believing that the MMR vaccine is safe is college graduates. GOPers are +84. College grads are +87.

But wait — haven’t we seen other polls showing that high income earners are, surprisingly, less likely than lower earners to support vaccine mandates? Well, yes, the YouGov poll had a finding to that effect, with roughly 70 percent of people who make $100K or less supporting mandatory vaccination versus just 55 percent support among people who make more than $100K. That could have been an outlier due to the small sample size among the $100K+ crowd, though. And it’s not true, obviously, that “college grad” = “earns more than $100,000.” In fact, a different Pew poll taken last week also found that college grads were the educational group most likely to support mandatory vaccines, although they were only a few points higher than lesser educated people in that survey. In today’s survey, they’re considerably higher. That feels plausible — better health is associated with better education in many ways — but it’s hard to explain the discrepancy between the two polls. Why would less educated people support vaccine mandates roughly as much as college grads do if they’re quite a bit more likely to doubt that the vaccines are safe?

The one common thread in all these polls is that young adults are more leery of vaccines than their elders. They’re still far above 70 percent in believing that the MMR vaccine is safe, but the age trend regarding both mandates and the safety of vaccines is towards greater skepticism, not less. Anyway, via the Free Beacon, here’s what California’s vaccine skeptics are up to nowadays.

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David Strom 12:01 PM on October 07, 2022