As COVID and resultant public health policies continue to shape everyday life, Americans are growing increasingly risk averse and more pessimistic about their political leaders, according to two recent opinion polls.
A Rasmussen Reports poll commissioned by libertarian leaning think-tank The Heartland Institute and an Ipsos poll commissioned by the policy news site Axios both underscored earlier evidence that Americans are deeply skeptical of their government and its responses to the pandemic.
Democratic Voters Want to Isolate and Punish the Unvaccinated
The Rasmussen-Heartland poll, however, revealed a strong authoritarian streak among Democratic leaning respondents. That survey found that 48 percent of Democrats would favor fines or imprisonment for people who decline vaccination compared to 14 percent of Republicans.
Fifty-nine percent of Democrats supported confining unvaccinated people to their homes.
The poll also showed Democrats are more supportive of censorship with 48 percent in favor of fining or imprisoning to individuals who question the efficacy of COVID vaccines on social media, television, radio and publications including online and digital.
Americans Pessimistic About Life Returning To Normal
More than half of respondents told Axios-Ipsos they expect it will take a year “or never” for life to return to normal, compared to 39 percent a year prior and three-quarters of respondents said they “feel at risk” compared to about half a year prior.
And while COVID has become the second leading priority for respondents since last July, when it overtook “employment and jobs,” the economy continues to be the leading concern.
No One Trusts the Government
Both studies showed deep distrust of COVID public policymakers, with Axios-Ipsos reporting that 62 percent of respondents trusted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, down from 69 percent a year prior and a 45 percent trust rating for President Joe Biden, down from 57 percent last year.
The Rasmussen-Heartland poll showed Democratic- and Republican- leaning respondents were evenly split between favoring and opposing President Joe Biden’s vaccination mandate policies.
Fauci A Contentious Figure
The same poll showed that 45 percent of respondents favorably viewed Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical advisor, while 48 percent had an unfavorable impression of him.
Beyond America, Europe Is Also Divided
COVID policies have become political lightning rods across the planet. In Europe protests have repeatedly broken out. In Germany, Austria, Denmark and The Netherlands, conservative and nationalist movements appear to be opposed the mandates, while liberals appear to support tighter restrictions. have seen participation by right wing parties in demonstrations against covid mandates. Austria, in particular, has seen a sharp political division with the right wing Freedom Party calling the newly imposed vaccine mandates totalitarianism.