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Nearly One Third of Likely US Voters Would ‘Favor Criminal Punishment’ of Vaccine Critics: Poll

Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: January 17, 2022
A recent survey found that the majority of Democrat voters want to see the unvaccinated placed on house arrest. Many also seek the usage of quarantine camps.
Members of the Democratic Socialists of America gather outside of a building owned by then-U.S. President Donald Trump on May 1, 2019 in New York City. Polling by Rasmussen Reports found a startling majority of Democrat voters desire totalitarian pandemic response policies be inflicted on the unvaccinated, such as quarantine camps and house arrest, in stark contrast to Republicans and the unaffiliated. (Image: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Results of a Jan. 5 telephone survey of 1,016 “Likely Voters” in a series of eight questions conducted by the Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports were published by Rasmussen on Jan. 13, revealing that close to a third of respondents supported various legal actions against unvaccinated individuals and those who speak out against vaccines or other measures billed as pandemic control.

Six of the eight questions probed for Americans’ tolerance and position towards intrusive and authoritarian measures to be deployed against the unvaccinated, while the remaining two sought to examine public opinion on President Joe Biden and NIAID Director Anthony Fauci.

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The results were highly polarized along partisan boundaries, with around half of self-identified Democrats in “favor” of measures including fines, imprisonment, and even compulsory quarantine in concentration camps for offenders. By contrast, Republican and unaffiliated respondents were overwhelming opposed to the proposals.

Rasmussen’s notes that the political affiliations among respondents are “likely.”

The company defines its survey methodology as utilizing an automated system that ensures “every respondent hears exactly the same question, from the exact same voice, asked with the exact same inflection every single time.”

It further clarifies that “After the surveys are completed, the raw data is processed through a weighting program to ensure that the sample reflects the overall population in terms of age, race, gender, political party, and other factors.” 

“The processing step is required because different segments of the population answer the phone in different ways. For example, women answer the phone more than men, older people are home more and answer more than younger people, and rural residents typically answer the phone more frequently than urban residents.”

The questions

The first pandemic measures question asked was, “Would you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a proposal for federal or state governments to fine Americans who choose not to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

In response, Rasmussen stated that “55% of Democratic voters would support such a proposal, compared to just 19% of Republicans and 25% of unaffiliated voters.”

Next, the survey asked the question of what Americans thought of the prospect of employing perpetual house arrest for the unvaccinated, “Would you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a proposal to limit the spread of the coronavirus by having federal or state governments require that citizens remain confined to their homes at all times, except for emergencies, if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Results published by the firm were unambiguous when it stated that “fifty-nine percent (59%) of Democratic voters would favor” the measure. Rasmussen noted that by contrast, “Such a proposal is opposed by 61% of all likely voters, including 79% of Republicans and 71% of unaffiliated voters.”

The fourth question asked respondents for their position on implementing quarantine camps for the unvaccinated when it asked to what degree they would oppose “a proposal to limit the spread of the coronavirus by having federal or state governments require that citizens temporarily live in designated facilities or locations if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

The survey said, “Forty-five percent (45%) of Democrats would favor governments requiring citizens to temporarily live in designated facilities or locations if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine.”

Rasmussen noted that 71 percent of all voters opposed the notion, clarifying that “78% of Republicans and 64% of unaffiliated voters saying they would Strongly Oppose putting the unvaccinated in ‘designated facilities.’”

The examination also asked respondents to reveal their appetite for censorship when it asked how opposed they were to “a proposal for federal or state governments to fine or imprison individuals who publicly question the efficacy of the existing COVID-19 vaccines on social media, television, radio, or in online or digital publications?

Results revealed that “Nearly half (48%) of Democratic voters think” in favor of the question asked, in stark contrast to “only 27% of all voters – including just 14% of Republicans and 18% of unaffiliated voters” who “favor criminal punishment of vaccine critics.”

A red line?

Next, Rasmussen asked respondents to declare their tolerance level for a technocratic surveillance state when it asked to what degree, if any, they would oppose “for federal or state governments to require unvaccinated citizens to use a smart phone app or wearable device that tracks unvaccinated people to ensure that they are quarantined or socially distancing from others?

The results were again consistent, “47% of Democrats favor a government tracking program for those who won’t get the COVID-19 vaccine,” compared to “about two-thirds (66%) of likely voters” who opposed the prospect.

In the final question, Rasmussen queried if respondents felt that a central government should seize custody of the unvaccinated’s children when it asked to what degree they would oppose “a proposal to temporarily remove parents’ custody of their children if parents refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine?

This appeared to be a hard line for the political left. Consensus among Democrats fell sharply when only “twenty-nine percent (29%) of Democratic voters” said they  “would support” such a measure, the polling organization stated.

The firm nonetheless noted a sharp proportional contrast in tolerance between the left, the right, and the unaffiliated, “That’s much more than twice the level of support in the rest of the electorate – seven percent (7%) of Republicans and 11% of unaffiliated voters – for such a policy.”

In a further elucidation of its findings, Rasmussen said that “more black voters (63%) than whites (45%), Hispanics (55%) or other minorities (32%)” were in support of Joe Biden’s central mandatory vaccination policy for workplaces. 

The results also appeared to correlate favorability of authoritarian measures against the unvaccinated directly with those who are still staunch supporters of Joe Biden, “Among voters who have a Very Favorable impression of Biden, 51% are in favor of government putting the unvaccinated in ‘designated facilities,’ and 54% favor imposing fines or prison sentences on vaccine critics.” 

“By contrast, among voters who have a Very Unfavorable view of Biden, 95% are against ‘designated facilities’ for the unvaccinated and 93% are against criminal punishment for vaccine critics,” revealed the survey.