Mask, vaccine support in Michigan largely aligns with vaccination status, poll shows

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

About 57% of voters support mask requirements in public buildings compared to 35% who don't, according to new polling commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. 

Support and opposition appeared to depend on vaccination status: For those already vaccinated, support for mask requirements rose to 71%; while 80% of unvaccinated voters opposed mask mandates, according to the poll conducted by the Glengariff Group. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

The numbers reflect a "stark polarization" among vaccinated and unvaccinated voters that tracked across nearly all topics, officials said.

"Those who will not get vaccinated just don’t look like the rest of the state on a number of issues across the board," said pollster Richard Czuba. 

"...If COVID is not handled over the next few months, then that dynamic is going to become increasingly important," he said.

More than 92% of Democratic voters supported mask requirements compared to only 26% of Republican voters according to the poll. 

About 53% of voters say government or schools should make the decision regarding whether students should wear masks, while 38% said parents should have the final say. 

Hundreds of people protest in front of the Oakland County Board of Commissioner's auditorium on Sept. 2, 2021, to protest the county's mask mandate. About 57% of voters support mask requirements in public buildings compared to 35% who don't, according to new polling commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and released Monday, Sept. 20, 2021.

About 17% of Michigan voters do not plan to get vaccinated and another 5% say they can't get vaccinated for medical reasons. 

About 66% of the 600 voters between Aug. 30 and Sept. 3 said they had at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine and another 7% said they would get vaccinated eventually.

The percentage of voters unwilling to receive a vaccine has remained steady for the past year, according to Czuba. About 70% of those unwilling to receive the vaccine identified as Republicans. 

"There is a stark difference by partisan affiliation," Czuba said. 

Voters indicated a variety of reasons for declining the vaccine, with 23% saying there was not enough research, 15% saying they had no time, 13% indicating they did not trust its safety, 10% saying there wasn't enough information, 10% saying they were naturally immune and 10% saying they were waiting for additional Food and Drug Administration approvals. 

About 55% of voters support a school vaccination requirement when the FDA approves the drug for children.

Employed voters were split on legislative efforts that would prohibit employers from requiring an employee vaccine, with 48% supporting the legislation and 47% opposing it. 

"These numbers would give businesses, or many businesses, some pause if they were seriously considering" mandates, said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO for the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. 

"I don’t think it’s any secret that some businesses…would like a state or federal mandate so that would give them the cover to issue a vaccine mandate.”

eleblanc@detroitnews.com