Poll: Trump Voters Want COVID Vaccine Information from Doctors, Not Politicians

Findings Reveal Language That Can Help Build Trust in Vaccines

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March 2021

When deciding whether to get a COVID vaccine, Republicans who voted for President Trump will be far more influenced by their doctors and family members than any politician, including Trump, according to a national poll and focus group conducted in March 2021. When asked if they’d be more likely to get vaccinated if their doctor or Trump recommended it, 81% chose their doctor. This and other findings reveal that like other Americans, Trump voters see vaccination as a personal issue, not a political issue, and they want unbiased facts from doctors and other trusted, non-political sources.

A full 78% of all respondents said they may eventually get vaccinated. When asked if they would wait days, weeks, months, a year, or more than a year after it was available to them, 50% said they would wait months, and only 21% said more than a year.

The poll questions were informed by a March 13 nationwide focus group with 19 Trump voters who said they may “possibly” get a COVID vaccine or “probably would not.” Conducted by Frank Luntz on March 14-16 for the de Beaumont Foundation — in partnership with United States of Care and Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies — the poll identifies specific language that can help build confidence in the vaccines for all Americans. Findings include messages about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, the potential long-term effects of COVID-19, and the careful review process that each vaccine has followed.



View a 30-minute highlight reel of the March 13 focus group:

As previous polls of the general public have shown, Trump voters said they’re most concerned about safety, the speed at which the vaccines were developed, and the unknown long-term side effects. These individuals found the following information helpful and said it made them more likely to take a vaccine:

  • The vaccines are up to 95% effective, even more than the annual flu vaccine, which is typically 40% to 60% effective.
  • If enough people are vaccinated, we can prevent 100,000 deaths or more.
  • Almost all doctors who have been offered the vaccine have taken it.
  • The speed of the vaccines’ development was a result of cutting red tape and bureaucracy, not cutting corners or bypassing any safety precautions.
  • The phase 3 trials for the three authorized vaccines enrolled tens of thousands of people, and none were hospitalized or died.

The poll is the third in a series of national polls focused on “Changing the COVID Conversation” designed to guide more effective public health messaging during this pandemic among diverse populations, including Black Americans, Latinx communities, Republicans, rural residents, and others.

Other Findings

  • 96% said COVID-19 is real, but 55% think its risks have been exaggerated.
  • There are significant differences in the perceptions of older and younger Republicans. Those age 18-49 said they were almost equally concerned about getting COVID-19 (51%) as getting the vaccine (49%). But 69% of Republicans 50 and older said they were more concerned about the virus.
  • Respondents 18-49 said they would be more motivated than respondents 50+ by employee incentives, a day off, the recommendation of religious leaders, and the decision of friends and family members to get vaccinated.
  • 74% of all respondents said they always or usually wear masks when they are indoors and around others. At the same time, 70% said that no longer wearing masks was a compelling reason to get vaccinated.


The nationwide survey was conducted March 14-16 by pollster Frank Luntz, with 1,000 registered GOP voters who voted for President Trump in the 2020 election (+3% margin of error), modeled demographically based on voter turnout. They were polled about the specific words, sentences, phrases, and arguments that would make them more likely to take a COVID-19 vaccine.