FAU Poll: Floridians Favor Vaccine Requirements for Employees but Split on Parents Making the Call on Masks for Schoolchildren

By Paul Owers | 08/18/2021

Tags: BEPI | Economics | Press-Releases
Categories: Initiatives | Research

Most Say They Would Vaccinate Their Children Under 12 Once Approved

BEPI Covid Polling

Most Floridians support employers requiring workers be vaccinated against COVID-19, but respondents were split on parents deciding whether their children should wear masks at school, according to a statewide survey of 500 residents by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative  (FAU BEPI).

As the highly contagious delta variant surges through the Sunshine State, residents support businesses stepping up their vaccine requirements, mandating that some or all employees get vaccinated or provide proof of vaccination. Sixty-five percent of respondents favor businesses insisting that employees get the vaccine, while 30 percent oppose, and 5 percent aren’t sure.

Florida has been the focal point of a national debate on mask mandates in schools. The state wants parents to make the call for their children and said it may penalize school boards that impose their own mask mandates. Florida also is providing vouchers for parents who want to transfer their children to schools that don’t require masks.

While 66 percent of respondents agree with the recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that students, staff and teachers wear masks in public school, support wasn’t as strong for parents having the right to decide for their children. Only 51 percent were in favor, with 40 percent opposed and 9 percent not sure.

Vaccination status is another hotly contested issue in Florida. The survey results show that among the 131 parents of children between the ages of 12 and 18, roughly 76 percent indicated that their children either received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine or will receive it, while 24 percent said they do not plan to get their kids vaccinated.

What’s more, 85 percent of the 118 parents of children 6 to 11 years old indicated they would get their children vaccinated if the vaccine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, while 11 percent will not and 4 percent aren’t sure.

“As the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida increases, the majority of Floridians support COVID-19 requirements, and parents are eager to vaccinate their children,” said Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director of FAU BEPI in the College of Business. “In addition, the majority of Floridians support the CDC’s recommendation of mask-wearing at schools, but the level of support will vary depending on respondents’ party affiliation.”

There are varying opinions on who should be required to prove they have had the vaccine. A vast majority of respondents support requiring proof of vaccination for airline passengers (68 percent); cruise ship passengers (70 percent); and fans at sporting and entertainment events (61 percent). Support for proof of vaccine was the lowest for dine-in restaurant customers, at 53 percent. 

When it comes to whether universities should require students to be vaccinated, 67 percent of respondents were in favor, while 29 percent were opposed and 4 percent weren’t sure. 

More than 80 percent of those surveyed said they have received a COVID-19 vaccine or plan to get it. Also, 64 percent said they are very concerned about the delta variant that has sparked record numbers of hospitalizations in Florida. 

The survey was conducted Aug. 12-16, using a blended mode of 183 mobile responses and 317 landline responses by IVR. Both cell and landline samples were provided by Aristotle Inc. The margin of error was +/-4.38 percentage points. Data was weighted based on gender, age, education and ethnicity. The polling results and full cross-tabulations are available at www.business.fau.edu/bepi.