KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: MAGA Republicans’ Relationship With COVID-19 Vaccines
The KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor has been tracking intentions to get a COVID-19 vaccine since December 2020, when the initial vaccine first became available. Throughout the past three years, partisanship has continued to play an outsized role in predicting both intentions to get a COVID-19 vaccine as well as other pandemic-related attitudes and behaviors. With the latest COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Republicans are once again among the groups least likely to report having gotten the updated shot. This data note examines how vaccine attitudes and uptake differ between Republicans who sit on different sides of a particular ideological divide within Republican Party – support of the Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement.
The MAGA movement has attracted many Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, with six in ten (58%) saying they support the MAGA movement, representing about one quarter (23%) of all U.S. adults, according to the latest KFF Tracking Poll.
Generally, MAGA supporting Republicans tend to be older and have lower levels of education than Republicans who do not support the MAGA movement, with a larger share of MAGA Republicans being ages 50 and older (58% vs. 41%) and having less than a college degree (81% vs. 53%). MAGA supporting Republicans and Republicans who do not support the MAGA movement look similar across gender, race, and ethnicity.
MAGA Supporters Are Among Groups Least Likely To Get Updated COVID-19 Vaccine
Majorities of adults across partisan groups have reported receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine that has been on the market since December 2020, though larger shares of Republicans compared to Democrats and independents remained resistant, with at least a quarter saying they would “definitely not” get a COVID-19 vaccine throughout the three years of KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor surveys.
The November COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor finds that among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, similar majorities of both those who support the MAGA movement (60%) and those who do not support the MAGA movement (70%) say they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (10 percentage points is within the margin of sampling error).
However, Republicans under 50 years old who support the MAGA movement are particularly resistant to getting a COVID-19 vaccine, with about four in ten saying they have received at least one dose, 20 percentage points lower than their non-MAGA supporting counterparts (39% vs. 59%). Given the increased vulnerability of adults ages 50 and older to the virus, and consistent with our findings that across party lines, older people have been more likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine, large majorities of older MAGA and non-MAGA supporting Republicans ages 50 and older report having gotten a COVID-19 dose.
The newest COVID-19 vaccine recently became available in September of this year, with somewhat muted uptake compared to initial vaccine uptake. As of early November, two in ten adults say they have gotten the updated vaccine including one in three Democrats (32%), 16% of independents, and 12% of Republicans. Among Republicans, alignment with the MAGA movement is a strong predictor of vaccine intentions with supporters of the MAGA movement the fiercest in their opposition to the latest shot.
Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, about one in four (26%) of those who do not support MAGA say they have gotten or “probably” or “definitely” will get the latest updated COVID-19 vaccine, compared to about one in six (17%) of those who support MAGA saying they have gotten or plan to get the vaccine.
Most Republicans, regardless of MAGA support, say they will not get the latest updated COVID-19 vaccine with nearly two-thirds (63%) of MAGA Republicans saying they will “definitely not” get the newest vaccine, a slightly larger share than the half of their non-MAGA counterparts (52%) who say the same. The difference between Republican MAGA supporters and non-supporters in the share who have gotten the updated COVID-19 vaccine or say they will persists even after controlling for other demographics of age, gender, community type (such as urban, rural, or suburban communities), education, and household income.
In addition to being among the least likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at all, younger MAGA Republicans are among the most adamant that they will “definitely not” get the updated vaccine. Seven in ten (70%) MAGA supporting Republicans under age 50 say they will “definitely not” get the updated shot, compared to 54% of Republicans and leaners in this age group who do not support the MAGA movement (and 34% of the public overall).
MAGA Republicans Are Also Less Likely To Get The Flu Shot Or View Other Vaccines As Safe
As of September, almost six in ten (57%) non-MAGA identifying Republicans said they had already gotten or definitely will get the flu shot this season, compared to 43% of MAGA supporting Republicans. Interestingly, Republicans who do not identify with the MAGA movement are not significantly more likely than MAGA Republicans to say they normally get an annual flu shot. This could suggest that the MAGA impact on vaccine uptake could be a relatively new phenomenon that public health officials may be facing in the years to come.
The differences between Republican MAGA supporters and non-supporters are not only evident in their uptake of vaccines, but also in their assessment of the safety of different types of vaccines. Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who support the MAGA movement are less likely than their non-MAGA counterparts to express confidence in the safety of COVID-19 vaccines (29% vs. 44%), respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, vaccines (41% vs. 61%), and flu vaccines (53% vs. 74%).