Who'd have thought!
Republican dickhole governors like Florida's Ron DeSantis and Texas's Greg Abbott seem pretty sure the way to success in the 2024 Republican presidential primaries is to demonstrate just how much they hate public health, primarily by banning mask mandates by local governments and school districts, even if they have to threaten to withhold funding from schools to force them to comply. New polling from Axios and Ipsos suggests that while that approach may work pretty well with the GOP base, it's not at all what most Americans want, no not at all.
In fact, as has been the case throughout the pandemic, measures to protect public health are broadly supported by most Americans, even as they're less popular with GOP voters. The most recent Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index found that roughly two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) support state and local requirements to mask up indoors to prevent the spread of the virus. Perversely, though, there are very sharp partisan and regional divides in such support,
with the vast majority of Democrats (88%) and less than half of Republicans (40%) in favor of state or local mask mandates.
Support for state and local mask requirements also varies based on where people live, with those living in urban areas (71%) being more supportive than those who live in rural areas (49%).
That doesn't sound like a hell of a formula for winning a national election: To appeal to GOP voters, candidates will need to run against protecting public health from the virus, but if that's what gets them nominated, they may have a hell of a time winning support from the general public. Thank goodness!
Public support for masks in schools is even stronger with 69 percent of respondents saying they support local school districts requiring students, teachers, and staff to wear face masks. There's no real difference on that question between parents (68 percent) and people without kids (70 percent), either.
Again there's a clear partisan split:
Democratic support for school mask mandates is near universal (92%), while only two in five (44%) Republicans support school districts requiring masks.
But when it comes to policies like those in Texas, Florida, and too many other Republican-led states, Americans don't hear "Liberty!" and Paul Revere ringin' those bells and firin' those guns; they seem more worried about ventilators and codes blue in the ICU. Only a third of Americans support bans on local mask mandates, with 66 percent opposed. Again, the idea is only popular with Republicans, 57 percent of whom support mask mandate bans, while only 16 percent of Democrats do.
And if you're talking about punishing school districts that defy governors and put mask orders in place, you're really not going to win a lot of love: More that three-quarters of those polled oppose the idea of states withholding funds from schools or local governments that require masking.
The percentage of people inclined to answer "are you out of your fucking mind?" was not included in this version of the poll, but probably should be, next time around.
The Washington Post's Greg Sargent says the Axios/Ipsos survey might indicate the start of a backlash against ridiculous whiny immature loser assholes like Abbott and DeSantis, who recently called measures to prevent the spread of a deadly disease "the most significant threat to freedom in my lifetime, certainly since the fall of the Berlin Wall." Weirdly, such hyperbole doesn't seem to get a lot of traction outside the GOP faithful.
"Americans think masks are useful and good in the fight against covid," Chris Jackson, the head of public polling at Ipsos, tells me. The data, Jackson adds, indicates that majorities believe governors blocking mask mandates "are essentially taking away a useful tool for Americans to get back to their lives."
"There is a strong predisposition in this country toward doing something proactive to stop the pandemic," Jackson says.
In fact, Jackson told Sargent that bans on mask mandates aren't even very popular with Donald Trump's beloved poorly educated people, either:
Ipsos tells me that large majorities of non-college-educated Whites — a demographic that is supposed to thrill to Trumpian cultural warmongering — oppose gubernatorial prohibitions against local mask mandates and the cutting of school funding as retaliation. Those numbers are 58 percent and 75 percent respectively.
Democrats, Sargent says, might do well to start playing up their advantageous position in this dumb culture war, by reminding Americans that it's Republicans who are most opposed to measures like masking and vaccinations that could finally start returning the country to normal.
Hell, we've been saying that for months!
Anyway, OPEN THREAD.
You don't want another dipshit Republican media figure, do you? SHUT UP YOU DO NOT.
Hey, Wonketteers in California, and for that matter, Wonketteers who know people in the Golden State: With a bit more than a month to go until the September 14 recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom, the polls are starting to look closer than might be comfortable for the incumbent governor.
Up through May, most polls showed "No, do not remove" leading by a comfortable margin. But with the election getting closer and the Delta variant of the coronavirus leading to more communities requiring indoor masking again, the polling has tightened quite a bit, with two major polls showing a statistical dead heat (both showed Newsom surviving, but with a lead within the margin of error), and a new SurveyUSA poll released Wednesday showing 51 percent of respondents saying they'd recall him, and just 40 percent wanting him to stay in office.
That's not encouraging news for Newsom, who may also face an "enthusiasm gap" in the electorate: Republicans really want to remove Newsom, and are more likely to say they plan to vote than people who say "yeah, whatever, he's OK, I don't want the dude with the rented bear..."
As American Prospect's Harold Meyerson wrote in a an LA Times op-ed published Monday, Republican voters,
many Trumpified and defined by a hatred of Democrats, are "full of passionate intensity" (to borrow a line from Yeats). Many Democrats and independents, by contrast, may hardly pay attention to the recall or go to the polls.
It would be very bad if that situation continues. Ballots will start being mailed out to all registered California voters in the next two weeks (counties must have them sent out no later than August 16), and for Newsom to stay in office, he'll need to make up that intensity shortfall.
There are two parts to the recall ballot. The first simply asks, "Shall GAVIN NEWSOM be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?" If over 50 percent of voters vote "yes," then the second part of the ballot, where voters choose someone to replace Newsom, comes into play. No, Newsom is not on the list of 46 qualifying candidates, and you can't write him in, either. (You can vote "no" on the first part and choose who you think is the least awful candidate, at least; that choice would only count if the "yes" votes recall Newsom.)
If Newsom is recalled, whichever candidate on that list gets the most votes becomes governor until the 2022 general election: no runoffs, no need for a majority. Eek.
Now, because the pandemic state of emergency is still in effect, the election will be conducted primarily by mail, which will at least mean there's a chance voters who might not have been paying attention will be reminded it's happening when their ballots arrive.
Meyerson, we think, has the right idea for waking up Democratic and independent voters and getting them to return those ballots: Remind them what Republican governance looks like in the rest of the country.
Yeah, we were going to take a nap, but we're wide awake now, thanks.
[The] same poll that showed the recall had real prospects of passing also showed a clear front-runner among the 30-some-odd candidates who've entered the fray: Larry Elder, a radio talk show host in the mode of Rush Limbaugh. Even if disgruntled and disproportionately Republican voters don't anoint Elder, most of the other candidates also come from Trump country. In today's Republican Party, no other country exists.
Also, while a Republican governor wouldn't be able to pass any legislation, or even really block laws the state Assembly considers a priority (both houses have veto-proof Democratic majorities), there's all sorts of mischief a Republican chief executive could get up to all on their lonesome:
As Sen. Elizabeth Warren has often noted, personnel is policy, and the governor could discharge any and all executive branch officials and install new ones who aren't subject to legislative confirmation. By so doing, the governor could bring any state programs he or she doesn't like to a shuddering halt.
That could include mask mandates during the pandemic, or state promotion and provision of COVID-19 vaccinations. That could also include ordering state departments to slow-walk or shut down programs that the Legislature has enacted, such as expanding Medi-Cal to elderly undocumented Californians. A court fight would doubtless ensue, but the program could be put on hold until the courts ruled — and the same fate would likely befall other programs not in accord with the right's priorities.
Or if you'd really like to scare your California progressive friends into remembering to vote, you might remind them that if Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who's 88, were to retire or God Forbid the worst happened, her replacement could be appointed by a Trumpist Republican. Say goodbye to the tied US Senate, too.
So yeah, this recall is pretty freaking important. Get the phone trees going, you filthy California fuckatofus!
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Well! It turns out that when Fox News dips its pinky toe in the waters of being halfway responsible for five seconds every once in a while, it matters.
We were very not impressed when Sean Hannity took 30 seconds out of his show to say he believes in the science of vaccination and please take COVID seriously. We had faint praise for Steve Doocy telling Fox viewers out loud that 99 percent of the current COVID deaths are happening among the unvaccinated. Had Fox News changed its tune? Um, not really.
But apparently it still matters!
A new poll from Morning Consult shows that Fox hosts just barely pretending for a minute to understand that we're in the middle of a global pandemic and the best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated — even when they spend the rest of their time railing against masks and questioning the efficacy of the vaccines and hosting malevolent anti-vaxxers — actually has had an effect on its viewers' willingness to get their damn shots.
Morning Consult says the "share of Fox News viewers who said they probably or definitely won't get vaccinated fell to 27% this week," which is the lowest number they've recorded. In July it was 30 percent. Back in March it was 37 percent. The only groups worse in this poll are people who mostly get their news from Instagram, Facebook, Reddit and ... Snapchat? Is that even a thing? Apparently it is, for anti-vaxxers! A full 35 percent of them are like NO STICKUM MY ARM NO NEVER!
Basically, you're slightly better off right now if you watch Fox News, as opposed to getting your news from comments sections.
Meanwhile, 75 percent of regular CNN viewers say they've already been shot up with vaccines. Fuckin' snowflakes, pfffft bet they won't even die in any pandemics.
Mediaite notes that Fox News is still continuing its efforts toward being reasonably responsible once in a blue fucking moon. Apparently, on Friday, Fox News did a graphic that said "vaccines work" and it didn't even say "TO MURDER YOUR NANA." Give it time, though. Tucker's kinda busy this week embracing full-on fascism in Hungary. He might not have time to make that graphic.
Of course, 27 percent of Fox News viewers still refusing is still way too many. Can you imagine what would happen if Fox News did real journalism about the vaccines for a whole day? We don't want to suggest crazy talk here or anything, but can you imagine how many of their viewers wouldn't die? Again, this is a big ask, obviously, because Fox News is very inexperienced with doing real journalism and it would probably go comically poorly.
But hey, it's something to shoot for, maybe! Next on Fox News: science!
Haha, just kidding, Wonkette should fuck off and stop wishing for things that are never ever ever ever going to happen.
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Correct answer, vaccinated America!
Before we get to being mean to unvaccinated people who don't plan on getting vaccinated because they're scared of becoming a wireless hotspot, let's start by saying there is a bit of good news to go with the bad. It's just sad we needed all this bad news to create the conditions for a sliver of good.
The latest edition of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index is out, and it shows that, with all this Delta variant blowing into everybody's bodies, and filling emergency rooms and morgues with (mostly) unvaccinated people, the rates of people who insist on staying unvaccinated are actually finally going down a little tiny bit. Even if they have to dress up like Bozo the Clown to get their vaccine in southern Missouri so nobody will notice them. (Might as well just mail them the vaccines in discreet packaging so all their neighbors will just assume it's their weekly dildo delivery.)
To put some numbers on it, the poll says 77 percent of Americans are either vaccinated or are going to be. (This week, according to CDC, the US finally has hit Joe Biden's goal of 70 percent of the population having at least one shot.) That 77 number is up a tiny from 75 percent, but the poll also says true resisters are down to 15 percent. Meanwhile, only 25 percent of parents are a definite no when it comes to taking their kids to get their damn shots. That's down from 29 percent a few weeks ago.
So that's all good, if by "good" we mean that we are clinging to any shred of halfway decent news and calling it "good." Maybe if a couple hundred thousand more Americans die, we can shave off another couple percent!
Also the survey says that "vaccinated America blames the unvaccinated for the Delta surge," while "unvaccinated America blames everyone else." Indeed, 79 percent of vaccinated Americans are pointing their fingers at the unvaccinated and saying "PEE YEW STINKY GROSS SMELLERS" and holding their breath when they walk by. This is the right thing to say and do. (Vaccinated folks also blame Donald Trump and conservative media. Correct answers, all.)
The stinky unvaccinated, of course, blame everyone but themselves, because they are too immature to take responsibility for their own actions. They say it is foreigners' fault and Joe Biden's fault and the mainstream media's fault and everybody else's fault not their fault. They are very bad at party of personal responsibility and bootstraps!
Finally, the survey says the percentage of people being more careful again is going back up, people masking up and staying home and social distancing, and that this the first time those numbers have tracked this way since spring. Of course, there is one caveat, and it is the caveat you expected, which is that people's behavioral choices continue to strongly correlate with whether they were smart enough to get their damned shots in the first place:
However, most of this concern and these protective measures are concentrated among the vaccinated indicating behavior changes will have minimal impact on the outbreak among the unvaccinated.
Vaccinated America yet again thanks the rest of you assholes for your shitty behavior, which continues to be more likely to kill you than us.
Flawless victories in owning the libs all around, guys. Oh hey y'all hear Lindsey Graham has a breakthrough COVID case? Yeah he says get your damn shots.
This has been a "good news" post about coronavirus vaccines haha LOL.
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