Sometimes I worry that people are getting sick of the months of posts showing the correlations between counties that voted heavily for Trump and counties that are the least vaccinated. I did one again last night. Yesterday NPR noted something similar-- counties that voted for Trump have the highest COVID death rate. The idiots living in those counties are "nearly three times as likely to die from COVID-19 as those who live in areas that went for now-President Biden... In October, the reddest tenth of the country saw death rates that were six times higher than the bluest tenth."
Recent polling data that show Republicans are now the largest group of unvaccinated individuals in the United States, more than any other single demographic group. Polling also shows that mistrust in official sources of information and exposure to misinformation, about both COVID-19 and the vaccines, run high among Republicans.
"An unvaccinated person is three times as likely to lean Republican as they are to lean Democrat," says Liz Hamel, vice president of public opinion and survey research at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy think tank that tracks attitudes toward vaccination. Political affiliation is now the strongest indicator of whether someone is vaccinated, she says: "If I wanted to guess if somebody was vaccinated or not and I could only know one thing about them, I would probably ask what their party affiliation is."
...Being unvaccinated increases the risk of death from COVID-19 dramatically, according to the CDC. The vast majority of deaths since May, around 150,000, have occurred among the unvaccinated, says Peter Hotez, dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
While vaccine hesitancy exists in many different groups, Hotez suspects that the deaths are "overwhelmingly" concentrated in more politically conservative communities. "How does this make sense at any level?" he asks.
...Misinformation appears to be a major factor in the lagging vaccination rates. The Kaiser Family Foundation's polling shows Republicans are far more likely to believe false statements about COVID-19 and vaccines. A full 94% of Republicans think one or more false statements about COVID-19 and vaccines might be true, and 46% believe four or more statements might be true. By contrast, only 14% of Democrats believe four or more false statements about the disease.
Belief in multiple false statements highly correlates with vaccination status, Hamel says. "If you believe that the vaccines can damage your fertility, that they contain a microchip and that the government is inflating the number of COVID-19 deaths, you're going to think really differently about whether to get vaccinated."
Perhaps the most pernicious pieces of misinformation have to do with the perceived severity of COVID-19 itself. The most widely believed false statement was: "The government is exaggerating the number of COVID-19 deaths."
Hamel says that underestimating the severity of COVID-19 appears to be a major reason why Republicans in particular have fallen behind in vaccination: "We've seen lower levels of personal worry among Republicans who remain unvaccinated," she says. "That's a real contrast with what we saw in communities of color, where there was a high level of worry about getting sick."
There is no feasible way to correlate IQ with vaccine dismissal but... you can use educational attainment as a rough stand-in for IQ. Last year, Stacker, listed the least educated county in every state. Here's a random sampling
Kenedy Co.,Texas (64.49)- 52% fully vaccinated (65.5% Trump)
Holmes Co., Ohio (68.28)- 17% fully vaccinated (83.2% Trump)
LaGrange Co., Indiana (70.88)- 22% fully vaccinated (76.3% Trump)
McDowell Co., West Virginia (70.97)- 23.5% fully vaccinated (78.9% Trump)
Clark Co., Idaho (71.28)- 35% fully vaccinated (84.9% Trump)
Hendry Co., Florida (71.89)- 45% fully vaccinated (61.0% Trump)
Clay Co., Kentucky (72.22)- 41% fully vaccinated (88.0% Trump)
Adams Co., Washington (72.74)- 54% fully vaccinated (66.6% Trump)
Seward Co., Kansas (73.12)- 41% fully vaccinated (63.7% Trump)
Buchanan Co., Virginia (73.86)- 45% fully vaccinated (83.5% Trump)
Lake Co., Tennessee (74.11)- 33% fully vaccinated (73.3% Trump)
Scotland Co., Missouri (74.84)- 25% fully vaccinated (77.2% Trump)
Greene Co., North Carolina (75.08)- 47% fully vaccinated (55.7% Trump)
Morrow Co., Oregon (75.42)- 51% fully vaccinated (70.1% Trump)
Adair Co., Oklahoma (76.01)- 31% fully vaccinated (78.6% Trump)
Liberty Co., Montana (76.11)- 32% fully vaccinated (75.8% Trump)
Crawford Co., Iowa (76.15)- 50% fully vaccinated (67.8% Trump)
Clark Co., Wisconsin (76.25)- 35% fully vaccinated (67.1% Trump)
Nobles Co., Minnesota (76.54)- 56% fully vaccinated (64.3% Trump)
Alexander Co., Illinois (76.91)- 28% fully vaccinated (56.8% Trump)
Oscoda Co., Michigan (77.19)- 40% fully vaccinated (71.0% Trump)
Bent Co., Colorado (77.42)- 30% fully vaccinated (66.1% Trump)
McIntosh Co., North Dakota (77.89)- 41% fully vaccinated (79.2% Trump)
Pershing Co., Nevada (78.08)- 34% fully vaccinated (74.6% Trump)
Somerset Co., Maine (79.66)- 57% fully vaccinated (60.3% Trump)
Niobrara Co., Wyoming (79.87)- 29% fully vaccinated (85.5% Trump)
Windham Co., Connecticut (82.09)- 59% fully vaccinated (51.0% Trump)
Summary-- in each county with the lowest education level in its state, the county also has a significantly lower vaccination rate than the rest of the state and a significantly higher 2020 Trump vote than the rets of the state. What does that prove: Trump voters are violating Darwin's law about survival of the fittest, although the NPR study indicates that Darwin is catching up with them-- not fast enough for the midterms, but steadily.