A majority of Virginians now say they are very likely to receive the COVID-19 vaccine

A vial of the Pfizer CIOVID-19 vaccine. [View Image] A vial of the Pfizer CIOVID-19 vaccine. (Kevin Morley, University Relations)

More than 7 in 10 Virginians say they are likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new statewide Commonwealth Poll conducted by the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.

This represents an increase of 13 percentage points compared to September 2020 (58% saying very or somewhat likely). The increase in those who said very likely was significant for both whites and minorities, with an increase of 14 percentage points for whites and 8 percentage points for minorities compared to September 2020.Democrats were the most likely, with 88% saying they were likely to get vaccinated. Those with higher levels of education and income were also more likely, 82% of those with a family income of over $100,000 per year and 80% of those with a college degree said they were likely to get the vaccine. Residents living in Northern Virginia and the South Central and Tidewater regions were the most likely, with 87%, 74% and 68% respectively. The Northwest and West regions were less likely, each with 53%.

“We see the importance of addressing the effects of COVID relative to improved health care needs in areas that have been previously neglected such as education, health and employment,” said former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder. 

A strong majority of Virginians (64%) support having a federal-level mask mandate, while 36% said they oppose the measure. Democrats and minorities were the most likely to be supportive, with 93% and 77% respectively. Again, there were regional differences with Northern Virginia, Tidewater and the South Central regions being more supportive with 73%, 69% and 60% and the West and Northwest regions were less likely to support the measure, with 51% and 50% respectively.

“There is a clear disconnect between what the people want relative to vaccination administration and the vaccine implementation plan provided by Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration to date,” Wilder said.

Among the poll’s key findings:

  • A majority (54%) of Virginians think it’s safe to send children and personnel back to in-person classes in the winter. This represents a 12 percentage point increase from September 2020 (42%). Men were more likely than women to think it’s safe (62% versus 48%) and whites were more likely than minorities (64% versus 37%). Republicans were most likely to think it is safe with 78% compared to 57% of independents and 28% of Democrats. There were regional differences with the Northwest and West regions thinking it was more safe, with 67% and 64% respectively. The South Central region and Northern Virginia were less likely to say it was very or somewhat safe with 54% and 51%. Tidewater was the least likely with 45%. 
  • Virginians are most concerned with employment and health care being impacted by the pandemic, with 34% and 33% noting those as the greatest concern. One-quarter said education was the greatest concern and 5% said housing.
  • Seven in 10 residents think broadband internet access needs to be expanded and available to all Virginians.
  • Nineteen percent of Virginians report receiving financial assistance from the state related to the coronavirus pandemic, such as the Paycheck Protection Program or unemployment benefits.

The Commonwealth Poll Winter 2021 involved telephone interviews with a representative sample of 827 adults, age 18 or older, living in Virginia. Interviews were conducted by landline (413) and cellphone (414, including 254 without a landline) from Dec 11-30. The margin of error for the complete set of weighted data is 5.39 percentage points.

 For the full poll results and analysis, visit https://oppo.vcu.edu/policy-poll/.

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 30,000 students in 233 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Twenty-two of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Tappahannock Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and MCV Physicians. The clinical enterprise includes a collaboration with Sheltering Arms Institute for physical rehabilitation services. For more, please visit www.vcu.edu and vcuhealth.org.

About the VCU L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

Ranked No. 45 among 275 graduate schools of public affairs by U.S. News & World Report and No. 39 in Public Management & Leadership, the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University advances excellence in governance and promotes evidence-based public policy in Virginia and beyond. The school offers an array of graduate, post baccalaureate and doctoral programs in virtually every policy area including criminal justice, homeland security and emergency preparedness, public administration, public policy and administration, and urban and regional studies and planning. Additionally, the Wilder School is home to a robust Center for Public Policy that provides applied research in the areas of state and local government, social equity and leadership and a range of services to clients in state and local government, nonprofit organizations, businesses and the general public. Learn more at wilder.vcu.edu.