Biden's push to combat COVID disapproved by roughly half of Americans: poll

48% said Biden mandates go too far; 53% approved mandates for workplaces with 100 or more employees

Roughly half of all Americans disapprove of the push by President Biden to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for up to 100 million American workers, according to a new national poll. 

And nearly half of those questioned in a Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday say the president’s actions to combat the surge this summer in coronavirus pandemic cases due to the highly infectious delta variant go too far.

By a 51%-48% margin, a slight majority of Americans disapproved of the president’s plans. In his most forceful comments to date, the president last week announced new, wide-ranging, federal COVID vaccine requirements for those working at companies with 100 or more employees, health care workers and federal contractors.

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Forty-eight percent of those surveyed said Biden’s vaccine mandates go too far, with 10% saying they doesn’t go far enough and nearly four in 10 saying they're about right. But asked specifically about mandating vaccines for workplaces with 100 or more employees, 53% approved and 46% disapproved.

President Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

President Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Biden, in a White House speech last Thursday, took aim at the tens of millions of Americans who have yet to get vaccinated, even after months of availability and federal, state and local incentives to get the shots.

"We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us," he said. And he stressed that the minority of Americans who are unvaccinated "can cause a lot of damage, and they are."

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Studies indicate that the delta variant’s infection rate among those who are vaccinated is significantly lower than in people who have resisted taking the vaccine.

But the president’s actions sparked a quick reaction from Republican leaders across the country – as well as some union leaders – charging that Biden was going too far in trying to force private companies and their workers to take the vaccines.

An increasing number of mask mandates have been reinstated in certain areas across the country in the wake of the COVID case surge. According to the poll, Americans by a nearly two-to-one margin support requiring students, teachers and school staff to wear masks. And a majority (57%) support requiring masks while in indoor public spaces.

By a 68%-24% margin, those polled said that the rise in COVID deaths this summer was preventable. 

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"’It didn’t have to be this bad,’ say voters. The nearly three to one margin of Americans who feel the country should have by now turned the corner on COVID underscores deep, lingering concern over the still menacing virus," Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy said.

A separate national poll by Monmouth University, which was also released Wednesday, indicated that 63% of Americans support COVID vaccine mandates for health workers, with 58% supporting such mandates for federal employees, and 55% backing such requirements for private contractors working for the federal government. 

According to the survey, 63% support the instituting or reinstituting of state-based face mask and social distancing guidelines, up from 52% in July.

"The current poll shows majorities of residents in both red states and blue states support some type of Covid control measures, and that includes many of the mandates proposed by the president last week," Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray highlighted.

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The Monmouth University Poll was conducted Sept. 9-13, with 802 adults nationwide questioned. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll was conducted Sept. 10-13, with 1,210 adults nationwide questioned. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points