Register poll: Two-thirds of Iowans are confident COVID-19 will continue to wane

By: - June 21, 2021 1:05 pm

Des Moines Public Schools and MercyOne held their first vaccination clinic for teachers and staff on Feb. 6, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Des Moines Public Schools)

Two-thirds of Iowans are confident the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to decline, a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll found, even as vaccination rates hover below 50%.

The Iowa Poll, conducted in mid-June by Selzer & Co., found that 66% of Iowans are confident that COVID-19 will continue to wane in the state. Over a quarter of respondents, 28%, said they remain worried that there will be a new surge in coronavirus cases or deaths.

Currently, Iowa’s case numbers are on the decline. The average daily cases fell 19% over the past two weeks, with an average of 75 new cases per day, according to New York Times data. Hospitalizations fell 37% in the same time period. 

Vaccinations, meanwhile, are slowly ticking up in the state. The Times reported that 47% of Iowans were fully vaccinated as of Monday. That number is higher in the vulnerable 65 and up population; 85% in that group are fully vaccinated.

However, even as some localities offer incentives to be vaccinated, the number of takers has slowed in recent weeks. A similar trend is playing out nationally: the average number of doses administered daily fell from nearly 4 million in mid-April to an average of 1.1 million on June 10.

COVID-19 attitudes divided by political party, gender

The Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll found a political divide in attitudes on the COVID-19 pandemic. Over half of Democrats responding were concerned the pandemic would have a resurgence, whereas just 12% of Republicans and 26% of political independents said they were worried.

Women were more likely than men to be worried about another surge. Among Iowa women, 36% are concerned about another wave of COVID-19 infections. One in five men, 20%, said they were worried.

Iowa Department of Public Health data shows more women have been vaccinated than men in Iowa. Nearly half of Iowa women, 47%, are fully vaccinated. Just 40% of men are.

Republicans were also more in favor of recent laws that forbade mask mandates and “vaccine passports.” Four in five Republicans supported a law to forbid schools, cities and counties from requiring masks. Only 16% of Democrats supported the law, which passed in the final hours of the 2021 legislative session.

The divide on vaccine passports is less stark: 63% of Republicans support a prohibition on vaccine card requirements. Among Democrats, 30% supported the ban.

Throughout the pandemic, Democrats and Republicans have taken opposing stances on masks, vaccinations and public precautions. A Register poll in March found 41% of Iowa Republicans did not plan to get the vaccine. Only 8% of Democrats said they would refuse the shots.

The telephone poll of 807 Iowa adults was conducted June 13-16. Questions based on the full sample have a maximum margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, the Register reported.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Reporter Katie Akin began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.

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