Goucher Poll: Marylanders Embrace COVID Vaccines, Split Over When People Will Return to ‘Normal, Pre-COVID Lives’

A nurse draws a vaccine dose as Marylanders receive their second dose of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine at the Cameron Grove Community Center on March 25 in Bowie. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

The vast majority of Marylanders surveyed in a new Goucher College poll had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but were split as to when they think Maryland will be able to return to a pre-pandemic normal.

Among respondents to the poll released Wednesday, 78% said they had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That’s a dramatic increase from the 19% who said they’d gotten at least one shot in a Goucher poll conducted in March when vaccines were slowly becoming available to adults younger than 65.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 85.9% of Maryland’s adult population had received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to a data tracker from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 9% of respondents in the Goucher poll — conducted Oct. 14 through Oct. 20 — said they would “definitely not” get the vaccine, 5% said they will wait and see how it’s working, 2% said they will only get the vaccine if it is required, and 1% said they would “get it as soon as they can.”

The poll of 700 Marylanders was conducted by telephone and 84% of those were mobile. The margin of error is 3.7 percent.

As to when they expect that “Marylanders will be able to fully return to their normal, pre-COVID lives,” 29% said they expect it will take more than a year.

Almost as many, 28%, said it will happen within the next year.

Some were more optimistic: 15% said Maryland could reach pre-COVID normal within four to six months; 5% said within one to three months and 5% said people are already able to return to normal.

Another 16% of those surveyed said that people won’t ever be able to return to a pre-pandemic “normal.”

Of the 78% of respondents who said they received at least one dose of the vaccine, 83% said they are likely to get a booster shot when it becomes available to them, and 15% said they are unlikely to get the booster.

About 67% of respondents who got at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine said they have limited in-person time with friends, family or acquaintances who haven’t been vaccinated.

Concern about contracting COVID has waned slightly since Goucher’s March poll. In March, 43% of respondents said they were very concerned about themselves or a close family member catching the virus, now  that figure is 34%. Another 21% of respondents said they were “not at all” concerned about themselves or a close family member contracting the virus, up from 13% in March.

Marylanders have approved of Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s response to COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, according to Goucher’s polls. In the October 2021 poll, just 10% of residents said they disapproved of the governor’s handling of COVID-19 and another 10% said they strongly disapproved.

Roughly 79% of respondents said they either approved or strongly approved of the response by Hogan (R). That figure was 82% in Goucher’s October 2020 poll and 76% in the March poll.

Of the 700 Maryland adults surveyed, 631 said they were registered voters. Of the registered voters, 56% were Democrats, 25% were Republicans, 17% were unaffiliated and 2% said they belonged to another political party, closely mirroring the state’s demographics.

The results released Wednesday are the second part of a three-part poll. The first poll results, released earlier this week, showed a slight dip in support for legalizing recreational marijuana and 68% approval rating for Hogan.

[email protected]

Bennett Leckrone
Leckrone is a December 2019 graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. He has interned at The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Columbus Dispatch, PennLive.com, The Dayton Daily News and The Troy Daily News. Leckrone is a Report for America corps member.