But it’s a study way back in 1999 that actually offers a possible explanation for these counterintuitive findings: “the antigenic distance hypothesis.” That is, the more different a particular vaccine’s strains are from the previous year, the more effective the vaccine is likely to be (assuming the vaccine strains match the circulating strains that year). But vaccine strains that are more similar to the previous year’s vaccine strains — such as last year’s H3N2 A strain, identical to the strain in the 2013-2014 season’s vaccine — may end up less effective, and we did see very low effectiveness last year because of the H3N2 strain.
Deep partisan divides among the politically engaged. When it comes to the role of government in specific areas, already-wide partisan gaps grow even wider among politically engaged adults, particularly over government’s role in health care, poverty assistance, education, environmental protection and the economy. For example, fully 90% of politically engaged Democrats say the government should have a major role in ensuring access to health care; just 21% of politically engaged Republicans agree. Among less-engaged Democrats and Republicans the differences are not as dramatic (79% of Democrats vs. 47% of Republicans).