Poll shows Pennsylvanians less concerned about COVID pandemic

Poll shows Pennsylvanians less concerned about COVID pandemic

December 10, 2021 0 By Victor Skinner

A new Muhlenberg College/Morning Call survey of Pennsylvanians shows declining concern about the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with increasing disapproval of how politicians are addressing it.

The poll, conducted through landline and mobile phone surveys of 419 adults in Pennsylvania from Nov. 15-20, found more than 4 in 10 residents are “extremely” or “very” concerned about the ongoing pandemic, a reduction from the 6 in 10 who reported the same in a March survey.

While about one-third of Pennsylvanians reported a negative affect on their mental health over the past three months, most do not approve of President Joe Biden’s efforts to address the pandemic. Support for the president’s pandemic response dropped from 55% in March to 40% in the November survey.

It was a similar situation with Gov. Tom Wolf’s leadership, with 44% now disapproving compared with 35% who believe he’s doing a good job.

Pennsylvanians are divided on the issue of employer-mandated vaccinations, with 49% in support and 50% against. Support for requiring public school students to wear masks stood at 60%, while nearly the same percentage (59%) believe unvaccinated residents are putting others at risk and prolonging the pandemic.

Other questions illustrated how political affiliation factors into how respondents view vaccinations.

While 20% of Democrats surveyed strongly or somewhat agree “there are major health risks for those that receive a COVID-19 vaccination,” the figure was 59% for Republicans and 28% for Independents.

Overall, 38% strongly or somewhat agree there’s major health risks with the vaccine, versus 57% who somewhat or strongly disagree.

The survey also showed vaccination rates varied by political affiliation, with 88% of Democrats surveyed who have reportedly received at least one dose, compared with 62% of Republicans and 71% of Independents.

Demographics with the highest vaccination rates include Pennsylvanians with a college degree at 89%, followed by those over 65 at 86% and the 50-69 age bracket at 77%.

Regardless, 74% of Pennsylvanians believe vaccines are very or somewhat effective at preventing serious infections, versus 22% who believe they’re somewhat or very ineffective.

Those surveyed generally were optimistic the pandemic is waning, though less so than during the March survey. In November, 56% strongly or somewhat agreed the worst of the pandemic has passed, compared with 29% who strongly or somewhat disagree. Those figures were 60% and 25%, respectively, last spring.

A total of 49% told pollsters they wear a mask in indoor public spaces most or all of the time, while 29% said they wear them occasionally and 21% never wear masks.

The survey also gauged the public’s perception of the risk of a COVID-19 infection from various activities, and results showed concerns about traveling on a plane or mass transit topped the list, with 66% reporting a large or moderate risk.

The same concern about shopping at retail stores stood at 47%, followed by 44% viewing office work with others and dining at an indoor restaurant as large or moderate risks. Forty-one percent said the same about in-person gatherings with friends and family outside the household.

A total of 77% of those who responded to the survey claim they have not contracted COVID-19, compared to 20% who have and 3% who were unsure.

The margin of error for the poll was 5.5%.

This article was originally posted on Poll shows Pennsylvanians less concerned about COVID pandemic