TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A politics and health survey conducted by St. Leo University Polling Institute found that more Americans were in favor of COVID-19 vaccine requirements. The university is in St. Leo, Fla. in Pasco County.
Among the roughly 1,500 survey respondents, the St. Leo University found that more of those surveyed are in favor of vaccine mandates for health care workers, teachers, and those who work at businesses with more than 100 employees, as well as for professional athletes who actively play.
The study was conducted a month ago, from Oct. 17 to Oct. 23 and surveyed 1,000 Americans. An additional 500 respondents participated in a parallel survey in Florida, to compare the results nationally to the residents in the state, according to the university’s methodology notes.
The survey noted a 3 point margin of error for national respondents and a 4.5 point margin for Florida-specific participants.
Questions asked in the survey, according to the university, included vaccination and COVID-19 testing participation, as well as federal and state vaccination policies, comparing President Joe Biden’s policy directives to those of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“It remains to be seen what the outcome of President Biden’s employee mandate will be as it winds its way through several legal challenges, but Republicans in some states are not waiting for the situation to play out. Governors in states such as Texas and Florida are looking to stop vaccine mandates and are trying to raise their own political profile in the process,” said Frank Orlando, director of the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.
Based on the survey’s results, St. Leo University found that more than 80 percent of the respondents are still taking COVID-19 precautions, with a higher percentage of the Florida respondents taking precautions than the national percentage, though only by a small margin.
“In the case of two statements, there was majority agreement. More than 80 percent of respondents—specifically 81.4 percent in the national sample and 83.8 percent of the Florida sample—say they are still taking precautions due to COVID-19,” according to the university.
Additionally, the survey found 71.9 percent of the national respondents and 75.6 percent of respondents in Florida said that they “tend to trust science and health officials when it comes to COVID information.” Respondents were largely in support of vaccinations for COVID-19, according to the study. 82.2 percent of the 500 Floridians surveyed, and 82.1 percent of the 1,000 national respondents said they had been vaccinated or planned to be.
An interesting result of the survey, for those administering it, were the responses to vaccination compared to showing proof of vaccination.
Dr. Cheryl Kozina, who teaches biology and medical humanities said she found it “notable that with 80 percent of respondents vaccinated or planning to vaccinate, that many fewer are willing to show that proof to get into a concert of restaurant.” In the analysis of the survey, Kozina said that many of the places to require proof of vaccination, like concerts or restaurants, “are apt to be private businesses and not government-run sites” and “wondered if it suggests that people consider passports a form of overreach.”
While the majority of respondents supported vaccination requirements, the majority also favored exemptions for those with compromised immune systems and other health conditions.
The survey also found that in both the national and Florida-specific groups, the majority of respondents agreed that things were close to normal, or at least closer to how things were pre-pandemic.
“Nationally, 54.7 percent agreed that, ‘Things are relatively back to normal or back to where they were before the pandemic.’ In Florida, 61.0 agreed with that statement,” the university said.