The Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul got the first look at a new poll from nominally conservative but in experience frank and reliable Magellan Strategies, looking at the partisan divide over the personal decision to take the now readily available COVID-19 vaccine and voter approval of Gov. Jared Polis’ handling of the pandemic:
A survey of 545 Colorado adults conducted by conservative-leaning Magellan Strategies from June 3-10 provides more evidence that the state is on track to inoculate more than 70% of its residents with at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by July 4. Gov. Jared Polis said Friday that he believes the goal, set by President Joe Biden, will be reached in Colorado.
The poll from the Louisville-based firm showed that 90% of Colorado adults who are registered as Democrats have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 7% have yet to get inoculated and 3% refused to say. Among Colorado adults who are registered as unaffiliated voters, 76% have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 15% have yet to get inoculated.
But only 57% of Republicans said they have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, with 26% saying they haven’t been inoculated and 17% refusing to answer.
This polling corresponds with the experience of heavily conservative areas of the state like Mesa County, which are seeing new outbreaks of COVID-19 while overall cases across the state decline. Mesa County was at one point championed by conservative opponents of public health orders to slow the spread of the pandemic, but today has one of the highest rates of infection in the state with the county’s hospitals nearing capacity. The willfully unvaccinated are also the populations most vulnerable to the new rapidly spreading variants of the virus.
The short answer is that these politically conservative areas of the state, which have from the beginning been the least compliant with measures to slow the spread of the pandemic and are now reluctant to accept the vaccine, are poised to suffer still more deadly consequences that heavily vaccinated politically liberal areas of the state (hopefully) will avoid. At this point, if you can’t see the connection, you’re willfully refusing to.
Gov. Jared Polis’ 60%-32% approval margin of his handling of the emergency in this poll is clear evidence that Republicans have failed to turn the necessary measures to respond to the pandemic into a liability. A majority of Colorado voters have stuck with Polis throughout this crisis and it’s too late now for that positive perception of Polis’ leadership to meaningfully change. If these trends continue, with conservative areas of the state suffering needlessly while the virus is stamped out where herd immunity can prevail, the political disparity will be underscored in a way that only tragedy can.
Hearts and minds are being won, but not in a way any of us would choose.