54% Believe Vaccine Requirements Should Be Decided in the Private Sector; 36% Want Government to Set the Guidelines

Fifty-four percent (54%) of voters nationwide believe vaccine requirements should be determined in the private sector. A Scott Rasmussen national survey found that 36% disagree and believe governments should establish the guidelines.

Those totals include 30% who believe individual companies should set the rules for their workforce and 24% who think the decision should be left up to individual workers. On the other hand, 21% believe the federal government should decide and 15% think the rules should be set by state and local governments.

Republicans, by a 65% to 28% margin believe that companies or workers should decide for themselves. Independent voters, by a 58% to 26% margin agree. Most Democrats, however, see it differently. By a 54% to 39% margin, those in President Biden’s party believe believe governments at some level should set the rules.

As on many issues, there is a significant divide between the views of White Democrats and Black Democrats. Twenty-six percent (26%) of Black Democrats believe individual workers should decide for themselves. Just 9% of White Democrats share that view.

These results are especially interesting because the same survey found that 54% of voters  at least somewhat favor the president’s mandate order. How can a majority think decisions should be made in the private sector at the same time a majority supports Biden’s top-down approach?

It turns out that just 36% of those who favor the president’s plan believe the federal government should make such decisions. Another 20% of those who support the president’s mandate believe the decision should be made at the state or local level. At the same time, 27% believe the decision should be made either by individual companies or workers.

On the flip side, those who disapprove of the president’s policy, 81% believe the decision should be made by individual companies or workers.

These results suggest support for the president’s plan is driven more by partisan loyalty rather than the plan itself.

Adding to the softness of support for the president’s vaccine mandate is the fact that just 33% of voters believe the president has the legal authority to order private companies to impose a vaccine requirement. Even among those who favor the plan, just over half (54%) believe Biden has the legal authority to impose it.

Related data shows that 39% of voters have relatives or close friends who will get vaccinated against their will because they don’t want to lose their job. That total includes 60% of Hispanic voters.

Additionally, 66% of voters are close to resuming their normal life in terms of going out socially, traveling, and interacting with others in person.

Still, pessimism about the pandemic remains high. Just 28%believe the worst is behind us. Forty-five percent (45%) believe the worst is yet to come. That matches the most pessimistic assessment since the vaccines rolled out in January.

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* How closely have you followed recent news stories about President Biden’s new vaccine mandates?

33%      Very closely

37%      Somewhat closely

17%      Not very closely

10%      Not at all closely

4%       Not sure

* Who should make the decision as to whether a company requires all employees to receive the COVID vaccine?

21%      The federal government

15%      State and local governments

30%      Individual companies

24%      Individual workers

10%      Not sure

Note: Neither Scott Rasmussen, ScottRasmussen.com, nor RMG Research, Inc. have any affiliation with Rasmussen Reports. While Scott Rasmussen founded that firm, he left more than seven years ago and has had no involvement since that time.


The survey of 1,200 Registered Voters was conducted online by Scott Rasmussen on September 14-15, 2021. Field work for the survey was conducted by RMG Research, Inc. Certain quotas were applied, and the sample was lightly weighted by geography, gender, age, race, education, internet usage, and political party to reasonably reflect the nation’s population of Registered Voters. Other variables were reviewed to ensure that the final sample is representative of that population.

The margin of sampling error for the full sample is +/- 2.8 percentage points.