National poll: 64% now feel government should mandate vaccination

A survey of more than 20,000 people compiled by officials at Rutgers University and three other prominent universities found the number of people who believe the government should mandate the COVID-19 vaccine has increased to 64% — or two points higher than it was in an April-May study.

The survey was conducted by the COVID States Project, a collaboration of Rutgers, Harvard, Northeastern and Northwestern. The group surveyed 20,699 Americans from all 50 states and the District of Columbia between June 9-July 7.

The survey also found that almost 20% of Americans said it is unlikely that they will get the COVID-19 vaccine. Almost 15% of people eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine said they are “extremely unlikely” to get the shot, while another 4.5% say they are “somewhat” unlikely to get vaccinated.

Katherine Ognyanoya, an associate professor of communication at Rutgers who co-authored the report, said the study shows the difficulty the country is facing during the pandemic.

“As the remaining unvaccinated population becomes increasingly difficult to reach, vaccination rates are slowing down,” she said. “Yet, the new and more infectious disease variants are causing a surge in cases. This may cost us more lives and delay the end of the pandemic beyond what we were hoping for.”

The COVID States Project is a joint project of the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, the Network Science Institute of Northeastern University, the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy of Harvard University and Harvard Medical School, and the Department of Political Science and Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

The consortium has released 58 reports and charted public opinion related to COVID-19 topics since April 2020. It is the largest ongoing national survey tracking people’s opinions and behavior during the pandemic.