Angelenos Split on Whether Vaccine Should be a Mandate or Choice, Predict 2022 End to Pandemic, LMU Survey Finds

Despite continuing caution over the spread of COVID-19, Angelenos were split on whether vaccines should be mandatory for the general public, according to a survey from the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University. 

Among those contacted, 49 percent said they would make vaccination a requirement for the general public, with 51 percent opposing such a mandate. In the same survey, residents predicted the pandemic will not fully ebb until some time in 2022, and voiced wide support for a broader embrace of work-from-home arrangements for those whose jobs allow it. 

“While we are all looking forward to seeing COVID in our rearview mirror, the changes that this pandemic brought about will continue over time, and the survey results prove that,” said Fernando Guerra, professor of political science and Chicana/o and Latina/o studies at LMU and director of the center. 

Significant majorities of people said they would take the vaccine if offered (80 percent) and that individuals who have been fully vaccinated should still follow safety measures like mask-wearing and social distancing (86 percent). The vast majority of Angelenos said they trust the scientific community on this issue (74 percent).

“Overall, the survey shows a region remaining cautious yet committed to staying the course amid the pandemic,” said Brianne Gilbert, associate director of StudyLA. “We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re in agreement that we trust in the science to help pull us through.”

Asked to imagine a Los Angeles County where different percentages of the population were vaccinated, most Angelenos felt comfortable returning to workplaces after 25 percent or more of the population was vaccinated. For schools and restaurants, a majority would only be comfortable after 50 percent vaccination; airports required a 75 percent vaccination rate. 

Other findings include:

  • Among those who say they could perform their jobs from home, 86 percent said being able to choose on-site or at-home work is important; 81 percent called for being able to set one’s own work schedule.
  • Large portions of the population experienced a decrease in pay or working hours (43 percent), struggled with mental health challenges (40 percent) or had trouble paying their rent or mortgage (25 percent) as a result of the pandemic.

The findings are part of StudyLA’s eighth annual Los Angeles Public Opinion Survey and will be presented at the first event of the Forecast LA series tonight at 9 p.m. via Zoom. Researchers will be available for questions after a presentation of the data. Registration for the webinar is required here.

The survey was conducted between Jan. 4 and Feb. 15 in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Korean. Respondents numbered 2,003 from across Los Angeles County. The margin of error is +/- 3.0 percent.The full report can be found here