As Pa. churns, poll shows majority of Americans back mask, vax mandates | Thursday Morning Coffee

New Monmouth University poll comes at a time of rising cases in Pa. and a heated debate over masks

September 16, 2021 6:30 am

(Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

With states around the country in the grip of the Delta variant, a majority of Americans say they support the vaccine mandates that President Joe Biden announced last week, according to a new Monmouth University poll.

A majority similarly supports guidelines for masking and social distancing in their home states, as well requiring people to show proof of vaccination to do such things as board an airplane or go to work, the poll found.

The poll’s release comes as COVID-19 cases continue an unsettling upward climb in Pennsylvania that’s seen an increase in hospitalizations and fatalities.

It also comes as the Republican-controlled General Assembly and Democratic Wolf administration have engaged in pitched battles over a mask mandate for K-12 students and staff, and children and staff in child care centers that took effect on Sept. 7.

Earlier this week, a Republican-controlled House panel voted to ask an obscure regulatory body for a ruling on the order signed by acting Health Secretary Alison Beam. On the other side of the Capitol, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, is leading a lawsuit challenging the mandate.

More than two-thirds of respondents (66 percent) said they supported requiring students, teachers, and staff to wear face masks. That included majorities of blue state (68 percent) and red state (63 percent) residents, according to the poll.

“The current poll shows majorities of residents in both red states and blue states support some type of COVID control measures, and that includes many of the mandates proposed by the president last week,” Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray said in a statement.

(Source: Monmouth University Poll)

Most respondents also said they support vaccine mandates for key groups mentioned in Biden’s mandate announcement last week.

Sixty-three percent of respondents said they supported mandatory vaccinations for health care workers; 58 percent favored mandatory vaccines for federal employees, as well as for private contractors who work for the federal government (55 percent).

Six in 10 respondents said they supported such mandates for teachers and school staff. Slightly more than half (51 percent) said they supported a vaccine mandate for school students aged 12 and older.

“The blue state/red state difference in support for any of these mandates is no larger than 5 points (e.g. 65 percent blue state and 60 percent red state for health care workers),” according to the poll. “Both types of states show majority support for all of these mandates except in the case of school children (53 percent in blue states, but just 4 percent in red states).”

The Monmouth University poll was conducted nationwide from Sept. 9 to to Sept. 13. The poll includes the opinions of 802 adults, with a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller.)

Our Stuff.

Right on schedule, a Republican-controlled Senate panel approved subpoenas for a broad swath of records — including the last four digits of voters’ social security numbers — as it launches a partisan probe of the 2020 election. Stephen Caruso has the details.

State officials, including Department of Human Services Secretary Meg Snead and Pennsylvania First Lady Frances Wolf gathered at the Capitol Wednesday to recognize Hunger Action Month, those struggling with food insecurity, and to offer their support to the commonwealth’s food banks. Cassie Miller has what you need to know.

Pennsylvania’s increase in COVID-19 infections continued unabated Wednesday, with the state adding 4,812 new cases, an increase of more than 1,000 cases over Tuesday’s tally of 3,732 new cases, according to new state Health Department tracking data.

New research shows that half of LGBTQ workers nationwide have faced job discrimination, our partners at the Philadelphia Gay News report.

On our Commentary Page this morning, opinion regular Bruce Ledewitz wonders whether state Supreme Court Justice David Wecht heralded the death of God in a recent opinion. And this Pa. activist group is putting people first. Opinion regular Frank Pizzoli explains how you can help.

Philadelphia City Hall (Image via


Nearly all the COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in Philadelphia were among the unvaccinated, city officials said WednesdayThe Inquirer has the story.

Federal officials seized two shipments of fake vax cards in Pittsburgh, the Tribune-Review reports. The price of the vaccine? Free. This kind of stupidity? Priceless.

Pennsylvania State Police trooper was arrested by his fellow troopers on Wednesday and charged with forgery and records tampering, PennLive reports.

Bethlehem’s efforts to become a world heritage site have moved one step closer to reality, the Morning Call reports.

Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke will introduce an overhaul of the city’s zoning boardWHYY-FM reports.

WPSU-FM takes a look at how Pennsylvania school districts are enforcing the Wolf administration’s mask mandate.

Washington City Paper focuses on the lessons learned from District workers who weren’t eligible for pandemic unemployment benefits.

NYMag’s Intelligencer ties together the national threads from California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s landslide win in Tuesday’s recall election.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:


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And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.