A new poll released by Monmouth University shows that most Americans support the enactment or re-implementation of COVID-19 prevention efforts, such as mask or vaccine mandates and social distancing requirements.
That comes amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant, which has surged almost exclusively among unvaccinated Americans both in New Jersey and across the nation. Daily cases and total COVID-19 patient-loads have reached their highest levels in months due to a combination of restrictions having been lifted, and unvaccinated segments of the population.
According to the poll, 63% of Americans would support their state reinstituting a mask mandate, compared to 52% in July.
More than 5.7 million New Jerseyans have been vaccinated out of its 9.4 million residents. The youngest someone can get the shot is the age of 12, with the Pfizer offering. The pharmaceutical giant is reportedly looking at asking for federal authorization to deliver the jab to children as young as 5, which could come later this fall.
In the poll, just over half of respondents – 51% – said they supported a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for children over the age of 12, while 44% were opposed to such a proposal.
Mitigation efforts such as public mask mandates, and reduced capacity at businesses such as bars, restaurants, concerts, entertainment venues and sports matches, have remained lifted since late spring.
As far as a vaccine mandate for activities in public, the poll found that 59% said they would support the requirement for air travel, 55% for indoor arenas like a concert or sporting event, 53% for being at the physical workplace, 50% for going to the gym, and 46% for going to restaurants and for gaining access to outdoor arenas.
Gov. Phil Murphy has held off on saying definitely whether he would ramp up any of these restrictions, beyond vaccine requirements. State health guidance strongly encourages, but does not require, face coverings at indoor public spaces by anyone regardless of their vaccine status.
Earlier this week the governor declined to say whether attending crowded sporting events, such as at the 82,500-person MetLife stadium, should be limited in light of the delta variant’s spread.
Still, 49% of respondents opposed a vaccine requirement for the gym, while 52% opposed it for outdoor arenas, and 51% for dining at a restaurant.
“The delta variant has dampened public confidence that we will get clear of this pandemic. That’s probably playing a role in broad support for mandates and other measures,” reads a Sept. 15 statement from Pat Murray, who heads the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Sixty-six percent of respondents support masking requirements at school for teachers, students and staff, while 60% supported a vaccine mandate for teachers and school employees.
Both teachers and school staff members, as well as state employees and university staff, have until October to get the COVID-19 vaccine, under an order Murphy signed in August.
The poll found that 63% of American adults supported a vaccine mandate for health care workers—a rule that was instituted in New Jersey over the summer, with a Sept. 7 deadline.
Monmouth University interviewed 802 American adults by phone between Sept. 9 and 13 for the poll. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.