Well-Being Medical Advances

New poll discovers who Americans blame for current COVID-19 surge

Story at a glance

  • National data shows improvement among Americans’ sentiment toward vaccinations.
  • The poll also reveals moderate distinctions between who is to blame for the recent outbreaks based on vaccination status.
  • Trust in public health officials is also strong.

Americans’ positivity toward vaccination may not be waning as new national data suggests that more people are willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine with the delta variant surging across the country.

Conducted in partnership with Ipsos and Axios, the most recent survey examined the rising number of Americans willing to get vaccinated alongside increasing concerns over the delta variant and the threats it poses to America’s reopening plans.

Ultimately, 78 percent of Americans, or roughly 3 in 4, report being concerned about the delta variant. 

Fifty-six percent of unvaccinated respondents indicate that they are concerned about the delta variant.

Given the increasing number of breakthrough infections among people who are fully inoculated against COVID-19, willingness to get the coronavirus vaccine has increased slightly, to 77 percent, up by two percentage points from mid-July. 

This is a critical metric. Vaccinations have fallen into the divisive rhetoric surrounding the public health precautions created to help bring the pandemic to a halt, alongside wearing masks and social distancing.

Simultaneously, more Americans report using masks as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend reimplementing mask regulations for public indoor spaces. The poll found that 57 percent of Americans reported wearing a mask “all or some of the time,” a five-percentage-point-increase from mid-July. 

Vaccination rates and favorable attitudes toward getting vaccinated are also swayed by the myriad of organizations, both public and private, that are requiring their employees and patrons to show proof of vaccination.

The survey authors also asked its respondents who they blame for the resurgence of COVID-19 infections. 

Answers somewhat differed based on vaccination status. Seventy-nine percent of vaccinated Americans blame unvaccinated Americans, with just 10 percent of unvaccinated people blaming those who haven’t been vaccinated. The role of unvaccinated individuals in the rise of the delta variant and whether or not they are to blame for the uptick in new cases has the starkest divide in respondent answers. 

Vaccinated individuals also broadly blame conservative media outlets and former President Trump for the renewed outbreaks, potentially due to these sources’ messaging around vaccinations. 

Unvaccinated individuals placed a moderate amount of blame on foreign travel into the U.S.

Despite the differences in identifying who is culpable for the delta variant outbreaks, more than two-thirds, or 66 percent of Americans, reported trusting the CDC in providing them with accurate information surrounding COVID-19.