🚨New WP🚨 “Elite Party Cues Increase Vaccination Intentions among Republicans”

How to convince Republicans-biggest holdout group-to get vaccinated? We find pro-vax messaging from Trump+Rep elites works, whereas Biden+Dems message reduces enthusiasm

psyarxiv.com/f9jq5 Image
High vaccination rate is key for herd immunity. But vaccine intentions are deeply polarized. ~40% of Republicans report they won’t vaccinate, essentially the same % as in Nov. A flat line for 5 months! (while other groups - e.g. racial minorities - have shifted substantially) Image
In pre-reg'ed experiment (N = 1,480), we varied whether Republicans saw endorsements of the vaccine from Republican politicians (including video from Trump’s CIPAC speech), from Democrats (including a speech by President Biden), or a neutral control. Image
Unvaccinated Republicans who saw the Republican vaccine endorsement reported 7% higher vaccination intentions than those who saw the Democrat endorsement, and 5.7% higher than those in neutral control condition. Co-party elite messages can work, even in this hard-to-reach group! Image
We also found backlash against Democrat politicians. Compared to other two conditions, Republicans who saw Democrat politicians’ endorsement
⚡️were less likely to encourage friends/family to vaccinate
⚡️had less positive attitudes about the vaccine
Take-home: Republicans are uniquely responsive to vaccine endorsements from Republican politicians. This fits with work showing (1) value of trusted sources for disseminating public health information, esp in communities with low trust; (2) power of cues from political elites
Our lab spent months in Summer 2020 trying to recruit influential conservatives to film mask-wearing PSAs without luck. But as polarized as vaccination is, it is thankfully less polarized. Will Republican politicians promote vaccination? This shows it could make a difference.
Also noteworthy, while best would be for Republican politicians to lead their own vaccination PR campaign, at this point the majority of influential Republicans have endorsed vaccination to some extent or another. That can and should be publicized more!
Proliferating variants and high case rates mean we have to hit very high thresholds for herd immunity. This means effectively promoting vaccination in this group - the largest vacc hesitant group in the U.S. - affects everyone.

These results converge with a recent survey experiment from @CBSNewsPoll and @YouGov. Like them, we also find less movement among Republicans strongly opposed to vaccination as compared to the “movable middle”

Thanks to co-authors Sophia Pink, James Chu, @DG_Rand, & Jamie Druckman

And @pascl_stanford, @StanfordPACS, and @civichealthproj

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