Another poll shows support for Biden's federal vaccine mandate at 60%

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

This one from Axios-Ipsos lines up with the result yesterday from Morning Consult, which had support for the mandate at 58/36. There’ll be more data coming this week, I’m sure, but it looks like around three-fifths of the public is willing to tolerate the mandate at the outset.

Emphasis on “at the outset.”

What happens if thousands of workers quit in protest? What happens if massive anti-mandate demonstrations are held? What happens if several federal judges block the mandate on statutory or constitutional grounds?

It’s becoming clear that Americans will entertain Biden’s vaccination requirement for businesses with more than 100 employees as a threshold matter, in the belief that it’ll increase immunizations and end the pandemic more quickly. But the more snags the policy hits, the more disabused of that notion voters will become, and the more support might fade. Although I continue to wonder: If a bunch of workers do end up quitting, particularly workers in critical industries, will the vaccinated majority blame Biden for that or will they blame the anti-vax employees who walked out?

I’m not as confident as some are that an anti-mandate backlash to the policy necessarily hurts him rather than the GOP, especially if the COVID picture in the U.S. brightens in the next six months. Anyway, from Axios:

That shakes out to around 60 percent approval overall, similar to yesterday’s poll, with independents solidly in favor of both policies. The Republican share in favor of the employer mandate, 30 percent, is also similar to the GOP share in Morning Consult’s survey, 33 percent. It’s fascinating that the numbers within each party didn’t vary much between Axios’s question about Biden’s mandate for federal employees, which he has plenty of authority to order, and the question about his mandate for private workplaces, which is questionable. It goes to show you that most Americans don’t care much about constitutional or procedural niceties. If they like the policy, they like the policy.

Last night I wrote about the minor wrinkle in Biden’s new policy that, uh, OSHA seems incapable of enforcing it in any meaningful way. They lack the staff, they lack the budget. They were barely enforcing COVID-era regulations even before Sleepy Joe suddenly put them in charge of vaccine compliance for 100,000 U.S. businesses. The best OSHA will be able to do, in all likelihood, is name and shame aggressive violators in press releases in hopes that bad publicity will make business owners ride herd on their own employees. But there’s another potential enforcement problem lurking: What if it’s actually incredibly easy to fake proof of vaccination? How many unvaccinated employees will “comply” simply by presenting forged documents?

They’re not hard to come by in NYC, at least:

Dana said that she was recently out with a friend who, upon learning she wasn’t vaccinated, asked for her birthday, texted his friend, and “within a minute” supplied her with a Photoshopped QR code to mimic the state’s Excelsior Pass. Except there was no need: Dana already secured a fake card from her co-worker, who sold it to her after he supposedly swiped a stack of cards while getting his shot, when the administrator’s back was turned. “It’s kind of like buying weed before it was legal,” she laughed. “Everyone knows someone that has weed.”

Indeed, some of the fake cards are being provided by drug dealers. “Business is very, very good,” said Alan, a counterfeit-card purveyor who also pedals weed and coke. “Too good. I need a vacation.”

The Daily Beast reported today that the black market in bogus vax cards has predictably exploded since Biden announced his new mandate, with prices doubling in some quarters as demand surges:

The number of sellers peddling bogus cards also went up, spiking from 1,000 to more than 10,000 sellers, security researchers at Israeli security firm Check Point, which was founded by veterans of an elite cyber unit of Israel’s military intelligence directorate, tell The Daily Beast.

The number of subscribers in Telegram groups oriented towards fake vaccine cards has grown by a multiple of five, the researchers, who monitor the darknet and deep web, said…

It’s illegal to order fake vaccine cards, and those who opt for phony cards that use an official government seal are committing a felony and could be sent to prison for five years, according to an alert from the FBI.

It’s typical that the leader of a lumbering, rapidly declining imperial power like 21st century America would slap a cumbersome vaccine/testing mandate on half the economy with barely a thought as to whether he had a way to enforce it. It’s gestural politics, hoping that the mere fact that the new policy has been proclaimed will be enough incentive for some vaccine holdouts to give up already and get the shot. Some people just need a little nudge to bring them off the fence. That’s what this is from Biden in practice, a little nudge.

In lieu of an exit question, read this story about aviation industry experts groaning over Fauci’s idea of requiring proof of vaccination in order to fly. That’s another case in which proof can and will be widely forged, and in the meantime it’ll make the already sluggish airport check-in experience that much more unpleasant.

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