Vaccine-hesitant Americans overwhelmingly reject the reported risks of the coronavirus delta variant, posing questions for the nation’s pandemic recovery on a Fourth of July the Biden administration has marked as a turning point in the nation’s long public health ordeal.Three in 10 adults in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll say they have not gotten a coronavirus vaccine and definitely or probably will not get one. In this group, a broad 73% say U.S. officials are exaggerating the risk of the delta variant — and 79% think they have little or no risk of getting sick from the coronavirus.President Joe Biden, health officials and others have described the variant as more contagious than other strains, and as such a substantial risk to unvaccinated people. It now accounts for more than a quarter of new cases in the country.See PDF for full results, charts, and tables.But the government’s plan to address it through vaccinations looks to have hit a wall. Just 60% in this survey, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, report having received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. While that’s below official estimates (66.8%, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it confirms the failure to meet Biden’s target of having 70% with at least one dose by July 4. And among those not vaccinated, a growing share — 74%, up from 55% in April — say they probably or definitely won’t get a shot.Partisan divisions are sharp, underscoring the politicization of the pandemic: Overall just 45% think the government is accurately describing the risk of the delta variant; 35% say it’s exaggerating it, with 18% unsure. Several groups are especially likely to say it’s being exaggerated, including Republicans (57%), conservatives (55%), evangelical white Protestants (49%) and rural residents (47%).Even as things stand, emergence from the pandemic is far from complete. More than 15 months after it gripped the nation, just 16% of Americans say their community has recovered fully. Nor is the future assured: While 56% think the country has learned lessons that will help it through the next pandemic, a mere 18% are very confident of this.BidenBiden, for his part, enjoys broad approval, 62%, for handling the pandemic (including a third of Republicans) — but that isn’t enough to keep him aloft. Just 50% of Americans approve of his job performance overall, a comparatively weak score nearing his six-month mark in office.Poor ratings on crime and on the immigration situation on the southern border are among Biden’s challenges, as is the hyperpartisanship that marks today’s politics.His 50%-42% job approval rating is the fourth-lowest out of the last 14 presidents at about five months in office in polls by ABC and the Post and Gallup previously. Biden’s ahead of only Gerald Ford (after his unpopular pardon of Richard Nixon, among other challenges), Bill Clinton (in a struggling economy and with an otherwise rocky start to his presidency) and Donald Trump (who never achieved majority approval). It’s an unusually low rating in a time of strong economic growth.Biden’s approval ratings tumble to 38% on crime — as reported Friday — and 33% on the immigration situation at the border with Mexico. In partisan terms, 88% of Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party approve of his job performance overall; 81% of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents disapprove.Just among party adherents — excluding independents — Biden has 94% approval in his own party versus 8% from Republicans, an 86-point partisan gap. That’s grown steadily from the Clinton presidency forward, demonstrating heightened partisan divisions the past three decades.Biden’s approval rating is similar to its level in an ABC/Post poll in April, 52%. There are some shifts among groups — a 16-point drop in approval among Hispanics, a 12-point drop in the Midwest (where this poll finds a larger-than-typical number of Republicans and GOP leaners) and a 7-point drop among liberals. Other slight shifts largely offset these.PandemicAdditional results show how partisanship has infected pandemic attitudes and behavior. Ninety-three percent of Democrats say they either have been vaccinated or definitely or probably will do so; that plummets to 49% of Republicans. Independents are between the two at 65%.Vaccine hesitancy also stands out among Republican-leaning groups, such as conservatives, evangelical white Protestants and less-educated adults. And while Republicans are far less likely to get a shot, just 24% see themselves as at risk for infection.As the table below shows, many groups that are vaccine hesitant are, at the same time, no more apt to see themselves at high risk of infection, and more likely than others to see the risk of the delta variant as exaggerated.The survey also shows Black adults, at 79%, are more apt than others to say they either have gotten a shot or will do so; it’s 68% among whites and 70% among Hispanics. That’s a positive sign after earlier, higher vaccine hesitancy among Black people.One further result on the pandemic points to the extent of COVID-19 in the United States. Eleven percent report testing positive for it; an additional 12% think they had it but never tested positive. The net total is 23%, notably higher among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, 31%. Among people who say they never had it, 72% have been vaccinated or likely will do so; among those who know or think they’ve had it, this declines to 60%.VotingLastly, on an unrelated topic, a Supreme Court decision released Thursday shows a contrast between public attitudes on voting access and the court upholding restrictions in an Arizona law. Americans, by a 2-1 margin, 62%-30%, call it more important to pass new laws making it easier to vote lawfully than to create laws making it harder to vote fraudulently.There are sharp partisan and ideological differences. Eighty-nine percent of Democrats prioritize making it easier to vote lawfully, as do 62% of independents, dropping to 32% of Republicans. (Still, that means a third of Republicans hold this view, which is at odds with the national party’s focus on the issue.) Similarly, 86% of liberals and 70% of moderates put a priority on expanding lawful voting, compared with 40% of conservatives.By race and ethnicity, 58% of whites say it’s more important to make lawful voting easier than to make fraudulent voting harder. This rises to 82% of Black people, with Hispanics in between, at 67%.MethodologyThis ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone June 27-30, 2021, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 907 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 percentage points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 30-24-37%, Democrats-Republicans-independents.The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York City with sampling and data collection by Abt Associates of Rockville, Maryland. See details on the survey’s methodology here.
The number of Americans seeing crime as an extremely serious problem in the United States is at a more than 20-year high, President Joe Biden is underwater in trust to handle it and broad majorities in an ABC News/Washington Post poll favor alternative crime-fighting strategies to address it.A sweeping 75% in the national survey said violent crime would be reduced by increasing funding to build economic opportunities in poor communities. Sixty-five percent said the same about using social workers to help police defuse situations with people having emotional problems.These measures, aimed at underlying causes of crime, are most apt to have been seen as effective, by substantial margins, of five that were tested. Among the others, 55% think increasing funding for police departments would reduce violent crime, 51% say the same about stricter enforcement of existing gun laws and 46% say so about stricter gun-control laws.See PDF for full results and charts.Broad support for alternative anti-crime measures comes against a backdrop of heightened high-level concern. Twenty-eight percent of Americans see crime in the United States as an extremely serious problem, a relatively small group but the most to hold this view compared to nearly annual polls by Gallup from 2000 to 2020. The average across those previous polls is 19%.Community members and police attend a vigil beside a makeshift memorial at the scene where 10-year old Justin Wallace was shot and killed the previous Saturday night in the Rockaway section of the Queens, N.Y., June 9, 2021.Views of crime in the country as a high-level problem expand to 59% when including those who see it as very serious, not just extremely serious. As typically is the case, far fewer, 17%, see crime as an extremely or very serious problem in the area where they live, though this is at a numerical high — by a single percentage point — compared to Gallup polls since 2000.This poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, finds a troubling difference in the experience of crime along racial and ethnic lines. While 13% of white people and 17% of Hispanic people call crime an extremely or very serious problem in the area where they live, this jumps to 31% among Black people.Politically, just 38% of adults overall approve of how Biden is handling the issue of crime in this country, with 48% disapproving. That said, Americans divide almost exactly evenly on which political party they trust more to handle crime — 36% pick the Republicans, 35% the Democrats, about the average difference between the parties on this question in polls going back to 1990. Twenty percent volunteered that they don’t trust either party on crime.US Attorney General Merrick Garland looks on as President Joe Biden speaks during an event on the Administration’s gun crime prevention strategy in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., June 23, 2021.Racial JusticeThe survey also measures attitudes toward racial justice, finding broad recognition of discrimination and muted perceptions of progress a year after nationwide protests over the murder of George Floyd gripped the country.About three-quarters of Americans, 77%, say that some people in the United States experienced discrimination on the basis of their race or ethnicity; three-quarters of white and Hispanic people alike say so, as do 86% of Black adults.Among those who say racial or ethnic discrimination exists, just 37% said the country is making progress in overcoming it. Thirty-four percent said this isn’t changing and 27% said the country is losing ground.In this June 9, 2021, file photo, a coalition of activists marched down 8 Mile Road to protest police brutality and racial profiling that occurs across the 8 Mile dividing line between Detroit city proper and the Metro Detroit suburbs.On a related, specific issue — addressing how the police interact with Black people — even fewer, 31% of Americans, see progress. More, 38%, see no change, and 24% think the country is losing ground. About a third of white and Hispanic people see progress on this issue, but that falls to just 17% of Black people themselves.Crime Strategy/GroupsViews on crime-reduction strategies differ among groups, sometimes sharply, with especially sizable gaps among Black people — who, as noted, are more apt to see crime as a serious problem in their area — compared with others.For example, Black people are vastly more apt than white people to say stricter gun control laws would reduce violent crime, 76% versus 37%, and to see stricter enforcement of existing gun laws as effective, 75 to 45%. Hispanics fall in between, at 57%, on both. At the same time, Black people are far less likely than white people to see increased funding for the police as a way to reduce crime, 39 versus 60%, likely given Black people’s experiences of unequal treatment by police, explored in previous ABC News/Washington Post polls. Again, Hispanics fall in between.On alternative approaches, 83% of Black people said they think using social workers to help defuse situations with emotionally distressed people would reduce violent crime, as did 73% of Hispanics, dropping to 60% of white people. There’s less of a gap on building economic opportunities in poor communities — 87% of Black people, 81% of Hispanic people and 73% of white people said that they think this would reduce violent crime.There are differences by age on nontraditional crime-reduction strategies. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 82% said they see the use of social workers as effective; just 53% of seniors agreed. And while 87% of those younger than 30 thought building economic opportunities would reduce violent crime, that fell to 67% — still a robust majority — of seniors.Johnnie Johnson from Rise Up for Peace, a non-profit organization talks with Tampa Police officers after going on a community peace walk in the Grant Park neighborhood, on June 26, 2021, in Tampa.Both creating new gun control laws and more strictly enforcing existing gun laws were more apt to be seen as effective by women compared with men, in the more liberal Northeast compared with other regions, and in urban rather than suburban or, especially, rural areas.PoliticsThere are well-established partisan and ideological fault lines on these approaches. Eighty-one percent of Democrats said they see stricter gun laws as effective in reducing violent crime, for example; 42% of independents and just 13% of Republicans agreed.Many Republicans also were skeptical about using social workers — 42% said they think this would reduce violent crime. But more, 61% of Republicans, saw increasing spending to enhance economic opportunities in poor areas as effective. That rose to 76% of independents and nearly all Democrats, 90%.Other results underscored the country’s sharp partisan lines on political issues. Just 6% of Republicans and 35% of independents approved of Biden’s work on crime, compared with 74% of Democrats.Tampa Police Officer Phil Douillard participates in an egg tossing game with kids from the Teen Summit organization at Rowlett Park, on June 26, 2021, in Tampa.With an eye toward the 2022 midterm elections, Biden’s party showed potential vulnerability on crime in two hotspots: the Midwest, where the Republican Party leads the Democrats in trust to handle crime, 43-28%; and in the suburbs, a 43 to 31% GOP advantage. Crime, as such, looks set to play a prominent role in the political debate in the months ahead.MethodologyThis ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone June 27-30, 2021, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 907 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 percentage points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 30-24-37%, Democrats-Republicans-independents.The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, New York, with sampling and data collection by Abt Associates of Rockville, Maryland. See details on the survey’s methodology here.