Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

Poll: 60% Say Childhood Vaccinations Should be Required, 52% Say Unvaccinated Children Should Be Banned From Public Schools


The latest Reason-Rupe poll finds that 60 percent of Americans believe all children should be required to receive vaccinations against diseases like measles, mumps, and whooping cough. Thirty-seven percent say parents should be allowed to decide whether or not to vaccinate their kids.

If children are not vaccinated, then a majority—52 percent—of Americans say unvaccinated children should not be allowed to attend public schools. Forty-four percent disagree, saying unvaccinated kids should be allowed to attend public schools.

Democrats (65%) are the most likely political group, followed by Republicans (58%), to say all children must be vaccinated. Independents are the most likely group to say parents should choose, and are evenly divided at 48 percent.

Age also increases the desire to require child vaccinations. For instance, a slim majority (51%) of millennials wants to require vaccinations, compared to 67 percent of Americans over 55.

Americans who prefer smaller government are the most likely (50%) to say unvaccinated children should be allowed to attend public schools. In contrast, among those who favor larger government, 6 in 10 say unvaccinated children should be prohibited from attending public schools.

The Reason-Rupe national telephone poll, executed by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, conducted live interviews with 1004 adults on cell phones (503) and landlines (501) October 1-6, 2014. The poll's margin of error is +/-3.8%. Full poll results can be found here. including poll toplines (pdf)  and crosstabs (xls).

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  1. What recent favor rounding up all anti-vaccine activists and ear-tagging them so their migratory patterns can be tracked?

    1. Anti vaxxers are a powerful test of the NAP for me, because they really are a negative externality, and their gibberish is especially derpy.

      1. I am not antivaccination, but I do have concerns with “who” decides “which” vaccinations are necessary. Mandated vaccinations should be extremely limited.

        1. RAHeinlein – The real RAHeinlein would tell you you’re an idiot. Vaccinations prevent diseases that have horrible consequences. I am breathing impaired (not horrible, but not good) because of Whooping Cough. But I grew up in the ’40s and ’50s. Mandated vaccinations should apply to all effective vaccines that address diseases in the child’s locale and likely travel extension. Mandatory vaccination should be given to all children not demonstrably allergic to the vaccine’s medium, severely ill or immune compromised.

      2. If being unvaccinated for a disease is a Negative Externality, then everything is a negative externality.

        Disease is natural. It is as natural as the sun, wind, wildlife and many other ills that can traverse someone else’s property to cause you harm.

        Someone is no more obligated to vaccinate themselves in order to prevent disease than they are obligated to build giant sun-blocks on their property to prevent sunburn or fence their land to prevent wolves crossing it.

        That said, there is a point where someone’s use of their property crosses into criminal negligence. Just as I ought to be held accountable if I am baiting or raising wolves on my land. Or if I let a fire get out of control. Or if I know I am ill- especially with a grave disease- and I choose to engage in behavior likely to spread it to others.

        There is no reason why we should be forcing people to inject themselves with chemicals- even though I agree wholeheartedly that NOT doing so is idiotic for your own protection.

        1. And by the way, I don’t see why Libertarians have such an issue with this.

          In a more libertarian world, you could hold property owners like schools accountable if they engage in behavior that increases the natural risks of disease. And those schools would be free to set Vaccination Required policies as a term of their use, or to force parents to sign a waiver if they do not want such a policy. The likely result of that is schools with no forced vaccination will get all of the Anti-Vax kids and their parents will learn the heartache and anguish of seeing epidemics cause pain and suffering.

          But this is all a choice.

        2. The issue isn’t that they are making themselves vulnerable to disease, it’s that they are making themselves more likely to infect others by becoming a carrier for the disease.

          Vaccines are helpful, but not perfect. Even if your vaccination didn’t properly take (or if you’re one of the few who legitimately would suffer substantial harm from vaccination), the disease still needs a path to get to you and everyone whose vaccination did take is preventing themselves from becoming part of the problem.

        3. Your comment makes no sense at all. A society is obligated to protect itself against criminals, communicable and epidemic diseases if possible and fools who drive eighty miles an hour down a residential street where every lawn is filled with ankle-biters. You advocate the latter as well as the second.

          The difference between sunshades and wolf barriers is that you do not carry and introduce wolves or ultraviolet sunshine into other people’s lives. You do carry disease into their lives and to their unborn infants when you allow your little snowflake to be infected and wander around the neighborhood with rubella (measles), and come into contact with your pregnant neighbor. I promise, you don’t want to see what comes of that.

  2. “What percent”


  3. What do Millennials think?

    1. This is the only question that matters.

      1. And it should be the only matter that we question.

  4. If only we could convince them to ban vaccinated kids from public schools, too.

  5. Just send all kids to public school in those biohazard suits.

    Think of the JOBS!

    1. Remember Bubble Boy!

      1. Bubble Boy had an immunodeficiency before there was any knowledge of HIV or AIDS in America. And it was a “true story” (true in that he existed and lived that life).

        1. cool story, bro

  6. Now I think Ekins is just trolling us for comments.

  7. Aren’t those results the exact opposite of actual policy?

    1. They are. Children are not required to have vaccines in some states, not sure about all of them. The schools do the song and dance pretending that they are required but if you push back they fold pretty easily. I have not personally experienced this with public schools because my libertarian beliefs cause me to eschew coerced funds but the BSA and the camps and things that my children attended always claimed that you had to be vaccinated and then would later admit that you just had to sign a form indicating a personal objection.

      1. I just received a note home from my kid’s school (in Colorado) threatening to remove him from school if I didn’t provide proof of vaccination. So it is required here.

        Luckily, I just had to have my doctor fax that information over.

        1. Most of the policies that I have read imply that the vaccinations are mandatory. So far, there has not been a single case where once they were informed that there were not any, they would then say “oh, sign this form”. Oklahoma schools say “mandatory” everywhere but then allow exceptions, as I understand, not having personal experience.

          1. You are correct. I just looked up the law, and they say you can sign a letter stating that for personal reasons you object to immunizations. The cost of that is that during epidemic scares they will miss school.

      2. What a remarkably stupid thing for the BSA (and camps and things) to do.

  8. Age also increases the desire to require child vaccinations. For instance, a slim majority (51%) of millennials wants to require vaccinations, compared to 67 percent of Americans over 55.

    Snot-nosed kids less worried about snot-nosed kids.

    1. I’d bet that had more to do with older people being less removed from the time that polio, whooping cough, and others were real problems and had tangible effects.
      We had a president in the 30s and 40s who had polio. There are boomers who had parents that lived through that.

      1. It has more to do with old people being afraid of dying.

        1. One day when I was in the 6th grade (c1958) my father came home from work early. We all (my father, mother, little brother and I) got in the car and went somewhere where we waited in line, got checked off, and sucked a sugar cube. Then we went out to dinner to celebrate.

          It was, of course, polio vaccine, and Mom and Dad were celebrating because they wouldn’t have to worry about either of us kids ending up in an iron lung. We already had an older cousin who contracted a mild case, and would have to wear a leg brace for the rest of her life.

          So no, they weren’t afraid of dying. Neither am I. I just don’t want to lose a grandkid to polio, smallpox, diphtheria, etc.

          1. To underline your point, wards filled with iron lung machines were a common reality before the vaccine.

            Our collective memory is dangerously short.

      2. I lived through that. I didn’t have polio, but two of my friends did (both lived but had atrophied limbs). I did have every other “childhood” disease… all in three months.

  9. Unless they are here illegally, or exposed to a relative with Ebola…

  10. No, they should not be mandatory. Yes, the kids should be banned from public school.

  11. They should be banned from public school.

    Would I get my school tax money back? I’m not anti-vaccine at all. But if I HAD to withdraw my kids AND got my money back, I might be willing to consider becoming so.

    1. Yet more reason for School Choice.

      This wouldn’t be an issue if parents could choose schools most akin to their expected upbringing. Anti-Vaxers could choose schools that don’t require vaccinations (and which force parents to sign a waiver for any sickness transmitted at school) and parents concerned about the spread of disease could choose to send their kids to schools requiring vaccinations.

      This isn’t brain surgery people.

      1. Anti-Vaxers

        This is really an inappropriate term, at least for me. I have absolutely no opposition to other people getting vaccinations. In fact, I hope everyone does. I would get vaccinated for something specific if I actually thought there was a real risk of me getting the illness. If I were to travel to a third world country I definitely would consider some.

        My chances of dying in a car accident far exceed my chances of dying from all of the 30+ diseases for which their are vaccinations combined.

        1. More power to you bro.

          Of course, your chances of contracting disease would go up if people were allowed to choose. Today, you receive the benefit of other peoples’ vaccinations. If populations become more segregated due to choice, you would find yourself (or your kids) spending much more time around populations that are much less immune- collectively.

      2. From an epidemiological perspective, this would actually be worse than having the unvaccinated dispersed in the general population. Those vaccine free schools would act as reservoirs of disease putting everyone whose vaccination didn’t take at much greater risk. (Until 1/5th of some Santa Monica preschool ended up dead or crippled by polio anyway. Reality is a harsh instructor, but its lessons tend to stick)

      3. And then we all wind up in the grocery store together, and the pregnant mothers’ fetuses turn into little horrors.

        It’s closer to brain surgery than you’re capable of dealing with.

  12. Unvaccinated children really don’t pose a threat to those who are vaccinated so I don’t see an issue here. Really all the risk is on the un-vaccinated kids.

    Their parents should probably go back to school and take a couple of science classes though.

    Eventually this will all go away when someone finally has the stones to do a study that links use of birth control pills with autism. I’d bet a million dollars that’s the cause.

    1. Unvaccinated children really don’t pose a threat to those who are vaccinated so I don’t see an issue here.

      Unfortunately, that isn’t true. Vaccination is not a guarantor of permanent absolute immunity.

    2. I’ll be happy to take your million.

  13. Can’t we just ban public schools? Or at least stop funding them with stolen loot?

  14. What rationale do those who believe everybody must be vaccinated use? If they choose vaccination and are protected, the kids without vaccinations pose no threat. I do not believe kids who are not vaccinated should be banned from schools. Their parents pay taxes just like the rest of us.

  15. Here’s the simple solution. If you cross the border (vacationing, documented, or otherwise) you need to be vaccinated.

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