Poll: Republicans More Likely Than Dems to Say Vaccinations Should be Parents’ Choice

And young people are more likely than older adults to say the same.

According to a new report from the Pew Research Center, vaccine beliefs are divided along party lines. A poll found that 1 out of 3 Republicans and Independents said the decision to vaccinate should be a parent’s choice, compared to 1 out of 5 Democrats.

The poll also found that young adults are more likely than their older counterparts to believe that parents should be able to choose whether to vaccinate a child. An estimated 41 percent of 18-to-29-years olds believed it should be a parent’s decision, compared to just 20 percent of adults 65 years or older.

Some attribute this divide to the fact that Measles have become rare since 1963, when the first Measles vaccine was introduced. In 1958, there were 750,000 cases of the disease. By 1968 this number had fallen to 22,000. By 2000 there were only 86 confirmed Measles cases reported to the CDC. Number stayed low until 2014 when the Center for Disease Control reported an outbreak of more than 600 cases. It was the first spike in a decade and was largely linked to unvaccinated Amish communities in Ohio.

This is Pew’s first report on this question since 2009; however, it is interesting to note that the data was amassed in August 2014—months before the current Measles outbreak that has resulted in more than 100 cases across 14 states.