More than one in five American voters would never get a COVID-19 vaccine even if it was offered for free, according to a CBS News poll (pdf) released on Sept. 6.
Only 21 percent of the voters surveyed said they would get the free vaccine as soon as possible, the same percentage as those who said they would never get one. The majority of those surveyed (58 percent) said they would consider a vaccine but would wait to see how it had worked for others.
Voters appear to be growing skeptical about the need for a vaccine. In July, 32 percent had said they would get the vaccine as soon as it became available. The CBS poll saw a 11 percent drop in people holding the same opinion in early September.
President Donald Trump on Sept. 7 suggested that the third phase of Moderna’s clinical trial may finish sooner than expected. The president appeared to refer to the possibility that the independent members of the Data and Safety Monitoring Board could opt to cut the trial short if the results at any given point were good enough to proceed with an approval.
Roughly two in three voters said that if a vaccine was announced as soon as this year, they would believe it had been “rushed through.” One in three said the would see it as a “scientific achievement.”
Democrats are more likely to want to get a vaccine as soon as possible, but even their enthusiasm has declined. In July, 42 percent of the Democrats surveyed said they would immediately get the vaccine. Far fewer, 25 percent, said so in September.
Views of the virus were also split along party lines on other questions. Republicans are more than twice as likely (52 percent) as Democrats (23 percent) to view the development of a vaccine as a scientific achievement.
An approval of a COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the presidential election on Nov. 3 would likely boost markets and be viewed as an achievement for Trump. The Biden campaign has worked to portray any vaccine developed during the Trump administration as a result of political pressure. Biden appeared to change his stance on Sept. 7, telling reporters that he would take the COVID-19 vaccine as long as it was approved by scientists.
The poll found that American voters’ trust for various sources of information about the virus has fallen across the board. The national media, which enjoyed the trust of 45 percent of voters about the virus back in March, remained at the bottom in September with 35 percent saying that they trust what they hear on mainstream news.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) saw the biggest decline in winning American’s trust as a source for information on the virus. Fifty four percent said they trust the CDC in September, down from 86 percent in March.
The survey was based on a representative sample of 2,493 registered voters nationwide.