Survey: COVID-19 vaccine dividing Floridians along party lines
Image via AP.

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
Both Democrats and Republicans believe COVID-19 is the biggest issue the state is facing

Floridians are split along party lines on the question of whether the vaccine for COVID-19 is safe and effective, as public health officials say, according to a statewide University of South Florida survey that also measured a number of other public issues.

Nearly three-quarters of Floridians told researchers they are either very or somewhat confident in the vaccine guidance public health officials offer, but there’s a marked split about this medical issue along party lines, according to a USF news release. Confidence is highest among Democrats (86.1%), followed by Independents (70.7%), while only half of Republican respondents said they were very or somewhat confident in public health officials’ advice on the vaccine.

Vaccine hesitancy is being blamed for a resurgence of the virus in Florida and reaching those who are not confident in the vaccine could be key in getting the pandemic under control.

The survey found that Florida’s handling of the COVID-19 virus — contrasting with most other states by reopening sooner and vaccinating seniors first — has been even more of a polarizing issue between Democrats and Republicans. No clear majority deemed Florida’s handling of the health care crisis better or worse than other states: 42% said “better” and 34.3% said “worse” and 18.8% said “just about the same” But ask Democrats, and a majority (54.4%) said it was handled worse, compared to 11.6% of Republicans. Sixty-eight percent of Republicans said COVID-19 was handled better in Florida than other states, compared to 23% of Democrats.

The survey, conducted between July 15 and Sunday, found that Floridians still view COVID-19 as the most important issue, with 29% choosing it as the most important. That view is held by both Democrats and Republicans, with 38% of Democrats choosing it as most important, along with 22% of Republicans and 32% of Independents.

The economy ranked a distant second, with 13.3% choosing that as the most important issue.

Most Floridians approve of the job that both President Joe Biden and Gov. Ron DeSantis are doing. On the COVID-19 pandemic, 61% approve of Biden’s handling while 52% approve of DeSantis’ approach to it. On jobs and the economy, DeSantis has a 60% approval rating, and Biden has 53% approval.

Those questions also show splits between Democrats and Republicans.

The survey also showed:

— Respondents favor additional relief for student loan borrowers, with two-thirds saying that the temporary pause on student loan repayments should be extended by the Biden administration: 28% favor extending the pause until the end of 2021, while 39% say that it should be extended into 2022.

— Strong support for federal investments in infrastructure now being debated in Congress. Seven in 10 (72%) respondents indicated support for passage of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure framework: 35% “strongly support” the bill’s passage, while 37% are at least “somewhat” supportive. Support was highest among Democrats, though a majority from both parties are in favor of the bill, according to a news release from the University of South Florida.

— A majority of Floridians would support a ban on ransomware payments. After numerous ransomware attacks against local governments in Florida, over half of Floridians (56%) say they would support a state-level ban on paying ransoms to cyber-attackers.

The survey included a representative sample of 600 Floridians, targeting people based on location, age, gender and race that mirror the state as a whole. The survey has a margin of error, plus or minus 4%, according to USF officials.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected]


2 comments

  • Andy

    July 27, 2021 at 4:26 pm

    George Carlin once said” Never underestimate a large group of stupid people”. God was he spot on!

  • father lowell laurence

    July 27, 2021 at 6:01 pm

    PLAY WRIGHT DR LARRY MYERS HAS FOLLOWED UP HIS CONDO COLLAPSE PLAY SET AT SURFSIDE MIAMAI “TOWERS FALL’
    WITH A DRAMA ABOUT COVID

    CALLED
    “AMBIDEXTERITY” ABOUT COVID & VACCINATION

    MYERS WAS WITH EPIPHANY THEATER DIRECTOR AT FORT LAUDERDALE SIGNING UP HOMELESS FOR COVID TEST

Comments are closed.


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