Axios/Ipsos Poll: Free Tests, Masks, Aren’t Boosting Biden’s Numbers on COVID

Axios/Ipsos Poll: Free Tests, Masks, Aren't Boosting Biden's Numbers on COVID Joe Biden holds a mask as he speaks U.S. President Joe Biden holds a mask as he gives remarks on his administration's response to the surge in COVID-19 cases across the country from the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 13, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 08:20 AM

An overwhelming majority of Americans say they agree with the Biden administration's move to mail free COVID-19 at-home tests to people who ask for them and to make free N95 masks available, but their approval of the initiatives haven't boosted President Joe Biden's numbers so far, according to a new poll.

The Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index poll, of 1,085 adults ages 18 and older, conducted from Jan. 21-24, found that 84% said they agree with both programs, but it also found that unvaccinated people, who may need free masks and tests the most, aren't as likely to take advantage of either program, reports Axios.

Further, 46% of those responding said they trust Biden to provide accurate information about the virus, a figure that hasn't changed since last October.

In other numbers:

  • 44% said they ordered the free tests through the government portal, which was opened a week ago. This includes half of the vaccinated respondents but only one out of every five unvaccinated people.
  • 81% said they are satisfied with the vaccine's ability to protect them from dying or developing serious illness, with 46% saying they are very satisfied and 35% saying they are mostly satisfied.
  • 77% said they had no notable side effects from getting vaccinated, with 48% saying they were very satisfied and 29% saying they were mostly satisfied.
  • 72% said they are satisfied overall with the vaccines protecting them from coming down with COVID-19, but just 27% said they were very satisfied.
  • 61% say they are satisfied that the vaccines are allowing them to return to pre-pandemic routines, but just 18% said they were very satisfied.
  • 22% of parents said their children's school or childcare center was closed in the last few weeks over COVID.
  • 49% said they do not expect to return to something like their pre-COVID lives for at least a year, if it ever happens.
  • 18% said their lives have returned to normal.

Meanwhile, 13% of those surveyed said they tested positive for COVID-19 in the past month. Chris Jackson, an Ipsos pollster and senior vice president, said that number is important because it reflects about twice what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows in its share.

If such numbers continue, that shows "how widespread the omicron variant of the pandemic has become [and] how fast it's burned through the country," said Jackson. "That's like one in eight Americans, over a month."

Officials know some people are getting COVID but not being tested, so the true numbers are hard to pinpoint, but the 13% in the current poll is up from the 10% reported in the last survey, conducted two weeks ago, Axios noted.

The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.