KSTP/SurveyUSA poll: Majority of Minnesotans refusing vaccines are Republicans

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The key element of Gov. Tim Walz’s plan to end the state’s mask mandate involves at least 70% of Minnesotans getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

But there are many people who remain hesitant to get the vaccine for various reasons, and most of them tend to be Republicans, according to a new KSTP/SurveyUSA poll.

Of the 750 people surveyed, 56% of respondents said they have been at least partially vaccinated, while 42% said they have not. Of the people who have not been vaccinated, 27% indicated they plan to get the shot eventually. Just under half said they have no plans of getting vaccinated, and about a quarter said they aren’t sure.

Out of the people who say they won’t get the vaccine, 55% identified as Republicans, and just 6% are Democrats.

However, Republican strategist Brian McDaniel believes more GOP voters are getting vaccinated than are letting on in polls.

"I think we’ve seen in almost all political polling that Republicans aren’t very forthcoming when people call them up asking their opinion, and I think that is part of it. You know, largely everyone I know even on the Republican side has chosen to get the vaccine.

While many credit Operation Warp Speed, helmed by former President Donald Trump, with the swift development and emergency approval of the three vaccines available in the U.S., critics say it’s unsurprising Republicans are refusing the vaccine based on messaging over the past year from Trump, the party’s defacto leader.

"It was also President Trump who offered some very unhelpful messaging for an entire year about this virus being something that you don’t need to worry about. Something that’s not very serious. And by the way, you shouldn’t trust the government," former DFL Party chair Brian Melendez said. "And we are seeing the tale of that messaging. Even though he was in charge of Operation Warp Speed, he sent a lot of mixed messages a lot of his supporters took to heart."

Regardless of party affiliation, people who say they aren’t planning on getting the vaccine presented a variety of reasons. The biggest concern, shared by 39% of respondents, is whether the vaccine is safe. Another 22% doubt the virus is dangerous enough to warrant a vaccine, while 16% are worried about side effects and 8% say they don’t need protection because they’ve already been infected.

The poll was taken from April 30 to May 4 and surveyed 750 adults living in Minnesota.