In September, when Joe Biden announced a federal vaccine mandate on private businesses with 100 or more employees, a clear majority of the public supported Biden’s mandate, according to Gallup. That poll showed 58 percent favoring Biden’s mandating vaccination or weekly testing of employees.
A Morning Consult-Politico poll released last month showed that while most Americans still supported Biden’s mandate, it has gone down from 58 percent in September to 55 percent in November.
But even as the omicron variant is spreading across the nation, public support for Biden’s mandate hasn’t recovered, and multiple polls are showing the tide has turned against them. So if Biden thought his long fight over his vaccine mandate in the courts would help his approval ratings, well, he was wrong.
Earlier this month, an Axios/Ipsos poll found that while most Americans still support employers requiring employees to be vaccinated, they believe it should be illegal for companies to deny service or employment to the unvaccinated. “The survey shows there’s deep, bipartisan resistance — even from those who support vaccine and mask mandates — to imposing severe consequences on those who won’t go along,” reports Axios, which notes that the legal challenges to Biden’s mandates carry “real political risk for Democrats.”
“This is sort of getting at the limits of what government can do,” said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs. “Biden doesn’t have strong support for these sorts of initiatives. It’s very conditional.”
Similarly, a new Rasmussen poll found that “Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters don’t believe the federal government should have the power to make vaccination mandatory.” Only 35% think the government should have the power to mandate vaccinations.
A new Zogby Strategies poll warns that 2022 will see a significant backlash against national mandates. “Regarding COVID-19 vaccine mandates, overwhelmingly, 53% prefer personal choice to 37% who want government mandates,” Zogby found. In addition, a plurality of voters also believe it’s right to “disobey mandates from the President.”
“With both Republican and Independent voters in favor of going beyond challenging and opting for disobeying mandates – Democrats get a signal that national mandates may not bode well for the upcoming mid-term elections,” says Zogby.
When it comes to fighting the pandemic, the public has lost trust in the federal government and prefers local management. “If there is more push for national mandates from federal authorities, expect harder push back from Republican and Independent voters, as well as most age groups and the college-educated,” warns Zogby Strategies Managing Director Jeremy Zogby.
This is a massive problem for Joe Biden. The rest of his agenda isn’t popular, but his vaccine mandate was for a while. If Biden thought a lengthy legal battle over his vaccine mandate could serve as a critical issue to restore his public approval ratings, well, that won’t happen now. In fact, things look really bad for Joe Biden in 2022. Not only have polls shown that support for Biden’s vaccine mandate has gone down, but more Americans believe Trump did a better job of fighting COVID. This isn’t terribly surprising. Despite promising throughout his campaign to “shut down the virus,” more people have died from COVID on Joe Biden’s watch than under Trump, and new COVID cases also hit a record high.