Democrats more likely than Republicans to favor mandatory coronavirus tests, ankle bracelets

Fifty-five percent of Independents and 54% of Republicans oppose the surveillance measures. Democrats, by a 49% to 38% margin, favor them.

Updated: April 15, 2020 - 10:34pm

To speed an end to the coronavirus national lockdown, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to support a mandatory, nationwide blood test and requiring some people to wear an electronic ankle bracelet, according to the Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen.

As the Trump administration works with governors for a plan to reopen the country, the Just the News poll of registered voters found 55% of Independents, 54% of Republicans and 38% of Democrats oppose these surveillance measures. Among the sample, 49% of Democrats, 38% of Republicans and just 33% of Independents support them.

"It's important to note that there are divisions within all parties," Rasmussen said. "This question, though, suggests some things are too extreme for consideration even in the midst of the pandemic. 

Among registered voters overall, by a 47% to 40% margin, voters oppose requiring everyone to take a coronavirus blood test and some people to wear an electronic ankle bracelet. Only 16% Strongly Favor it while 28% are Strongly Opposed.

"In Federalist 8, Alexander Hamilton wrote that 'Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates... To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free,'" Rasmussen continued. "We have certainly seen this reality play out in response to the coronavirus. The nation--having been alerted to the danger--has supported unprecedented lockdowns that significantly  infringe upon their freedom. Most, naturally, assume that such restrictions are allowed only in a health emergency and that freedom will be restored when the pandemic is defeated."

Not surprisingly, Rasmussen said, on the broad question, respondents in all demographic categories were somewhat evenly divided and torn between the goals of safety and freedom.

"As Hamilton predicted long ago, it appears that the American people today will run the risk of being less free to be more safe," Rasmussen said. "The challenge and political conflict will come after the pandemic has been defeated. Many government officials will relish the idea of keeping their new powers to deal with future challenges. Most Americans will expect their freedoms to be restored." 

Respondents were asked: "To speed an end to the national lockdown, would you favor or oppose requiring everyone to take a coronavirus blood test and some people to wear an electronic ankle bracelet?" Responses were as below:

  • 16% Strongly Favor
  • 24% Somewhat Favor
  • 19% Somewhat Oppose
  • 28% Strongly Oppose
  • 11% Not Sure

The national survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted April 9-11, 2020 by Rasmussen, a polling veteran. Margin of sampling error: +/- 2.8% for full sample. 

Rasmussen said the policy question was intentionally vaguely worded to gauge a general willingness to give up individual freedoms to speed an end to the lockdown. 

"Almost certainly, we would have found more support for narrowly framed policy options designed to address specific issues," Rasmussen said. "And we would have found less support for ideas such as requiring Americans to wear ankle bracelets." 

To see the full demographic cross-tabulations for this polling question, click below:


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