Advance Notice: Briefs

Poll: Americans on board with mask mandates

By: - July 22, 2020 6:13 am

A popup store in D.C. | Samuel Corum/Getty Images

A new national survey suggests that Americans strongly support wearing masks to help prevent COVID-19 spread.

What’s more, they reject the argument that mask-wearing mandates are an infringement of personal freedom. 

When asked whether your state government should have the authority to require everyone to wear a mask in public, 56% supported such mandates and only 20% opposed.

The results were similar when respondents were asked about whether local governments should have the right to order the use of masks — 79% were in support and 19% opposed.

“Our polling clearly shows that science and health concerns outweigh politics when it comes to wearing a mask,” said John Ashford, The Hawthorn Group chair and CEO.  “As our state and local political leaders grapple with how to balance public safety with individual rights, they need to realize that voters have moved far beyond that — voters recognize that we are in a serious health crisis and wearing masks are a vital step.”

The issue of mask wearing has been politically contentious in Michigan and across the country. More than half of states, including Michigan, now require the use of masks, although Republicans have been critical of the mandate. 

Michigan has experienced an uptick in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. The state has more than 74,000 cases and 6,100 deaths. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has required use of face masks is now required  in state indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor public places. The directive mandates that businesses refuse service or entry to people who are not wearing a face covering, with limited exceptions. 

Concern about a second wave of COVID-19 was very high, with 87% expressing concern, while only 12% indicated a lack of concern.

As they go about their lives during the COVID-19 crisis, a large majority of respondents regard wearing a mask as a civic duty — 79%, versus 19% who regard masks as a violation of personal liberty.

The Hawthorn Group, an Alexandria, Va.-based firm, conducted the poll. It was taken between July 1 to 5 and included a field of 1,000 adults.

President Donald Trump, who has been critical of the practice tweeted on Monday a photo wearing one, while including a racist attack.

“We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance,” Trump’s post read. “There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!”

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.