Poll: Pa. residents think worst of the pandemic is behind us, but still worried for the future | Thursday Morning Coffee

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, six in 10 Pennsylvanians think the worst of the historic public health crisis is behind us, but a majority remain “extremely” or “very” concerned about the ongoing situation, according to a new poll by Muhlenberg College in Allentown.

And even though it’s now possible for all adult Pennsylvanians to receive a vaccine, 3 in 10 adult respondents who said they had not been immunized say they do not plan to get vaccinated. Among Republican respondents, fully half (50 percent) said they do not plan to ever get immunized, the poll found.

(Image via Muhlenberg College)

“Among Pennsylvanians that have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine, most plan to become immunized,” says Muhlenberg pollster Chris Borick said in a statement. “However a significant portion of unimmunized residents of the state, and particularly those that are registered Republicans, indicate they do not plan to ever receive the vaccine.”

As of late March 2021, about 2 out of 3 Pennsylvanians who had not yet received at least one COVID-19 immunization said they planned to get immunized, the poll found, providing some good news.

Muhlenberg pollsters sampled the opinions of 421 adult state residents between March 15 to March 29. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points.

(Image via Muhlenberg College)

Three months into his administration, President Joe Biden gets high marks from Keystone State voters for his management of the pandemic, with respondents approving 54-28 percent. Biden’s grade among Pennsylvanians is lower than at the national level, where an average of 62 percent of Americans approve of his handling of the pandemic, according to the RealClear Politics polling average.

Either way, however, Biden skunked the guy who helped deliver Pennsylvania for him.

Respondents were sharply divided over Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s management of the pandemic, with 41 percent saying they disapproved, compared to 40 percent who said they approved of his policies, which saw the administration shuttering schools and businesses to contain the virus’ spread, and waging bitter political fights with the Republican-controlled General Assembly over those same policies.

“A year of crisis governing may have taken a toll on his standing in this key policy area,” Borick observed.

(Image via Muhlenberg College)

One more big takeaway from the poll: For a majority of Pennsylvanians, the worst public health crisis in a century has underlined the need for government involvement in healthcare. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they believed it’s the federal government’s responsibility to make sure that all Americans have health coverage.

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (Capital-Star photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Our Stuff.
In Philadelphia, members of City Council outlined their plans to tackle gun violence in the city. That roll-out came ahead of Mayor Jim Kenney’s budget presentation, which is scheduled for today, our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune report.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack keyed in on food insecurity and nutrition issues as he pitched his agency’s annual budget request to a congressional committee, Capital-Star Washington Reporter Ariana Figueroa reports.

Big companies such as Uber and PayPal are pitching in to help give folks a ride to get their vaccineStateline.org reports in a cameo appearance in our pages.

On our Commentary Page, Joseph Minott, of Clean Air Council, says a government settlement with Chesapeake Energy doesn’t go far enough, it’s time to shut down the chronic polluter. A better and more accessible public transit system is key to preserving independence and mobility for Pennsylvanians when they’re too old to get behind the wheel, opinion regular Ray E. Landis writes.

(Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek)

Elsewhere.
Pennsylvania Republicans are doubling-down on the culture wars, while Democrats and President Joe Biden push big spending, the Inquirer reports.
Speaking of which, U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th Districtadvanced the toxic ‘replacement’ theory during a House committee hearing on Wednesday, the Washington Post reports.
Will mail-in balloting drive up participation in the May 18 primaryCBS-21 in Harrisburg takes up the question.
Allegheny County health officials are urging local residents to get past their vaccine hesitancy, the Post-Gazette reports.
An indictment alleges that a former U.S. Postal Service union leader orchestrated a decade-long overtime kickback scheme at the Allentown Post Office, the Morning Call reports.
The state’s vaccine provider map isn’t always accurate, the Citizens’ Voice reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s 2021 budget proposal cuts taxes and hikes spending — but not for the police, PlanPhilly reports.
Elections officials in Allegheny County have outlined their plans ahead of the May 18 primaryWESA-FM reports.
The York Daily Record explains how a Lancaster dad became wanted by the FBI (paywall).
Erie County now has a vaccine demand problem, GoErie reports.
Children in Washington County have received free adaptive bikes, the Observer-Reporter reports.
In more Scott Perry news: The central Pennsylvania Republican will attend an April 24 fundraiser at Mar-A-Lago with former President Donald Trump, PoliticsPA reports.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has moved to restore funding to family planning clinics that provide abortion care, Roll Call reports.

What Goes On.
10 a.m,. 515 Irvis North: House State Government Committee
10 a.m., 14th Floor Conference Room, 333 Market St., Harrisburg: Independent Regulatory Review Commission

Eat Local Desk.
Our friends at The Incline profile Harvie, a Pittsburgh-based start up that provides home-delivered grocery boxes directly sourced from more than 75 Pennsylvania-based farmers and artisans. It’s all part of a plan to get people to eat smarter — and local.

Heavy Rotation.
If there is one thing Facebook excels at, it’s making you feel ancient. Thus did some bright spark in a fan group point out that the sophomore LP from R.E.M., ‘Reckoning,’ celebrates its 37th birthday this month. It’s my favorite R.E.M. record. And here’s my favorite track, the still-rollicking ‘Little America.’

Thursday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Winnipeg got past Ottawa 3-2 on Wednesday night. The Jets’ Laurent Brossoit made 27 saves in his first start since March 27.

And now you’re up to date.

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