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Reform UK supporters most vaccine hesitant among voters – study

By PA News

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Supporters of Nigel Farage’s new Reform UK party are the most hesitant among voters about taking up a coronavirus vaccine, according to a new study.

There is high support for receiving the jab among those who currently intend to vote for the Conservatives, Labour or Liberal Democrats, a two-wave study by Oxford University found.

But just over half (53.7%) of supporters of Reform UK, formerly known as the Brexit Party, favour taking the vaccine, according to researchers.

Just over half of supporters of Mr Farage’s Reform UK party (Danny Lawson/PA)
Just over half of supporters of Mr Farage’s Reform UK party (Danny Lawson/PA)

This is compared to over 90% for supporters of the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, at 94.8%, 91.4% and 92.1% respectively, and 100% for those who intend to vote for the SNP.

People who did not know who they would vote for were less likely to take the vaccine at 82.6%, as were supporters of the Green Party at 77.4%.

The study was conducted on a representative sample of over 1,600 adults in the UK, excluding Northern Ireland, with over 1,200 respondents in both the October and February surveys.

Overall, it found that three quarters of those surveyed now say they are “very likely” to have the vaccine up from 50% among the same group five months ago.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

The study found strong relationships between political attitudes and intention to accept the jab, with whether you voted for Brexit also appearing related to vaccine acceptance, according to Oxford researchers.

The study found that those who backed Remain were around 7% more willing to take the vaccine than those who backed Leave, or those who did not vote in the 2016 EU referendum.

Ben Ansell, professor of comparative democratic institutions at the Department of Politics and International Relations, said: “This multi-wave study gives us a rare glimpse of whose opinions have shifted and why.

“People have become massively more supportive of taking the vaccine overall but important gaps remain especially among groups whose trust in politicians is typically lower: non-voters, younger citizens, and poorer households.

“When so much of the UK Government’s lockdown exit strategy rests on successful vaccine rollout, these insights will be of immediate importance to policymakers in both their internal deliberation on policy and their outward facing communication with the public.”

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