Unvaccinated adults more than three times as likely to lean Republican: KFF analysis

Unvaccinated adults are more than three times as likely to lean Republican than Democratic, demonstrating the widening partisan divide in Americans’ vaccination status, a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found. 

The analysis published Tuesday determined that the 27 percent of people who say they’re unvaccinated are “disproportionately” Republican or Republican-leaning, based on data from the nonprofit's COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor in October. 

Sixty percent of unvaccinated people identify as Republican or Republican-leaning, despite making up 41 percent of the adult population. Meanwhile, 17 percent of the unvaccinated population are Democrats or Democratic-leaning.

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According to the data, a Republican is 26 percentage points more likely than a Democrat to have not received a COVID-19 shot.

Political partisanship serves as a better predictor for COVID-19 vaccination status than other demographic factors, such as age, race, education and insurance status, the data showed. 

Those who are uninsured, younger, live in rural areas and have less education still see lower vaccination rates, but partisanship still remains the "strongest" indicator of vaccination status.

The significant partisan divide suggests “substantial challenges” for officials seeking to boost the vaccination rate, including among children, Kaiser's analysis concluded.

Vaccination rates have increased across the U.S. population over the past months, with majorities of Democrats and Republicans reporting receiving at least one shot. 

The difference between Democrats and Republicans was previously less stark. In April, when 43 percent of adults were unvaccinated, 42 percent identified as Republican or Republican-leaning, compared to 36 percent who were or leaned Democratic. 

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But the slower rate among Republicans has led to the unvaccinated population becoming "increasingly Republican over time." 

The research also found a few "minor" differences between unvaccinated and vaccinated Republicans. For instance, unvaccinated Republicans tended to be younger and report less education than vaccinated Republicans.

Unvaccinated Republicans are more likely to say the news exaggerates the seriousness of the pandemic and that getting vaccinated is a personal choice than their vaccinated counterparts.

Still, vaccinated Republicans align more with unvaccinated Republicans with these views than vaccinated Democrats, which KFF said shows "the strong correlation between these attitudes and partisanship, regardless of vaccination."

Americans' party membership has previously predicted pandemic behavior, as Republicans were less likely to wear masks and social distance than Democrats. 

The KFF COVID Vaccine Monitor for October surveyed 1,519 adults between Oct. 14 and 24. The total margin of error amounted to 3 percentage points, while among the unvaccinated it reached 6 percentage points. 

The margin of error among Republicans and Democrats was 7 percentage points and 6 percentage points, respectively.

Updated 10:31 a.m.