February 4, 2021

February 2021 COVID Survey

"Virginians are divided over whether to be vaccinated; 29% know someone who has died of COVID-19 disease; most say opening economy could take a year or more"


Summary of Key Findings

  1. One out of five Virginians (19%) say they will never get vaccinated against COVID-19, while 46% say they will get the shot as soon as it is available and 35% plan to wait a while after the vaccine is available to them.
  2. Black Virginians are significantly less willing than whites to get the vaccine as soon as it is available (29% to 51%) and were more likely than other groups to say they would never get vaccinated (26%).
  3. Two out of three Virginians (67%) personally know of someone who has contracted COVID-19, and 29% know of someone who has died from it. Almost four out of five are concerned that family members may become infected (78%).
  4. Two out of three Virginians say it could be a year (38%) or longer (29%) before COVID-19 is contained enough that the U.S. economy can return to normal and businesses can fully re-open, while 9% say that can already happen.
  5. Even if restrictions were lifted now, most Virginians would not be willing to attend large sporting events or concerts (63%), go to a gym (57%), or attend an indoor party (56%) or a wedding (58%). More would be willing to get a haircut (49%) or dine in a restaurant (47%), while 36% would attend church in person.
  6. Asked about re-opening K-12 schools, 45% say they are re-opening too quickly, 25% say too slowly, and 30% say the pace is about right.
  7. Overall, Virginians are closely divided in their evaluation of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic (52% approve to 49% disapprove).

Analysis

COVID-19 State Response: Virginians are split on the state’s response to the pandemic (52% approve to 49% disapprove), largely along partisan lines. Republicans show a much higher level of disapproval than Democrats (74% to 22%). Asked about K-12 public schools, 45% of Virginians say schools are opening too quickly, while 25% believe schools are opening too slowly, and 30% are satisfied with the pace. Women are more likely than men to say schools are opening too quickly (52% to 39%). Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to say schools are opening too quickly (57% to 28%).

COVID-19 Impacts: Most Virginians say the COVID-19 pandemic will be sufficiently contained in the U.S. to allow the economy to return to normal and businesses to fully re-open in the next year (38%) or in more than a year (29%). However, others say the economy could return to normal in the next few weeks (5%) or months (19%), while 9% say the pandemic is already contained enough that the economy could reopen now.

Two out of three Virginians know of someone who has had the virus (67%), while 29% know of someone who has died of complications related to it. A large majority are very or somewhat concerned that they or a family member might contract the virus (78%). Democrats show greater concern than Republicans (90% very/somewhat concerned to 69% very/somewhat concerned). Virginians under ages 18-44 show less concern than those 45 and older (74% very/somewhat concerned to 83% very/somewhat concerned).

COVID-19 Vaccinations: Virginians are mixed in their plans to be vaccinated, as 46% indicate they will get the shot as soon as it is available to them, 35% plan to wait a while after it becomes available and 19% say they will never get the vaccine. Democrats are more willing to get the vaccine as soon as it is available than Republicans (56% to 37%). Black respondents are significantly less willing than whites (29% to 51%). “This is consistent with concerns within the Black community that stem from historical mistreatment in medical research and health care,” said Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo, research director of the Wason Center. “To reach herd immunity through vaccination will require concerted efforts to win the trust of the Black community.” A slight majority of Virginians believe getting vaccinated is a personal choice (53%), while the rest say it is everyone’s responsibility to protect others (47%). Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to say it is everyone’s responsibility (60% to 32%).

COVID-19 and Public Activities: Even if restrictions were lifted, a majority of Virginians would be unwilling to attend a large sporting event or concert (63%), go to a gym (57%), attend an indoor party (56%) or attend a wedding (58%). The largest number would be willing to get a haircut (49%), dine in a restaurant (47%), or go to a public beach (43%). More would be unwilling than willing to go to a movie theatre (49%-34%), fly on an airplane (48%-34%), or attend church in person (48%-36%).

“COVID doesn’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, but party affiliation clearly affects how people feel about getting vaccinated, reopening schools or even the risk of contracting the virus,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, Wason Center academic director. “You can bet the candidates for governor on down will make it an issue in this year’s election.”

How the survey was conducted:

The results of this study are based on interviews of 1,039 Virginia residents, including 897 registered voters, conducted online January 18-25, 2021. Percentages may not equal 100 due to rounding. Age-qualified and residence-qualified respondents for this non-probability survey were selected from Lucid’s Virginia panel, and stratified by locality. The sample was post-weighted using an iterative weighting process on region, sex, race, age, and education to reflect the geographical and known demographic characteristics of the Virginia population based on the 2020 population estimates. Because this is a panel survey and not a random sample survey, the reporting of a margin of sampling error would not be appropriate. A sample selected at random has known mathematical properties that allow for the computation of sampling error, and an opt-in panel survey does not allow for such a calculation based upon those known mathematical properties. The precision of online polling is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a Bayesian credibility interval of +/- 4.8%. This credibility interval was adjusted using the standard weighting design effect, which was 1.3 for this survey.


For further information contact:

Dr. Quentin Kidd, Director
qkidd@cnu.edu
Office: (757) 594-8499
Mobile: (757) 775-6932

Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo, Research Lab Director
rebecca.bromleytrujillo@cnu.edu
Office: (757) 594-9140

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