This story is a staff report from The Paper.

* Editor’s Note: Ahead of local elections, The Paper. commissioned the first public poll (793 likely voters, margin of error 3.5% +/-) to determine what voters think about candidates for mayor and school board positions, as well as public opinion on the proposed stadium bonds, vaccine mandates for APS and who voters think is most responsible for lagging APD reform. The results, like all of our articles, will be free to the public this week. Become a supporter today.

We asked each of our Albuquerque Public School candidates whether an approved COVID vaccine should be required for APS kids. We also wanted to know whether you supported a vaccine mandate. Although the vaccine mandate question isn’t on the ballot, it’s a hot-button political issue right now, and the FDA hasn’t even approved a vaccine. Some of their answers may surprise you. Some of your answers surprised us.

When it comes to mandating school-aged children to get the COVID vaccine, there was less of a gap between yay and nay than there was between those who thought the city should issue a $50 million bond to help publicly fund the United Stadium. 57 percent of voters said they supported requiring an approved COVID vaccine for school-aged kids to attend school. 35 percent said they didn’t support a vaccine mandate and eight percent said they weren’t sure.

The poll’s demographics were a little predictable, with 78 percent of Trump voters saying a vaccine shouldn’t be mandated for kids and 81 percent of Biden voters saying the vaccine should be required. What was surprising is that 41 percent of voters who voted for someone else or sat the election out felt that a vaccine mandate was out of the question.

More Hispanic voters, 62 percent, also felt that a vaccine mandate should be required. That compared to 55 percent of white voters.

The bottom line; the majority of likely voters support a COVID vaccine for kids once approved.