South Florida Sun Sentinel | By Steven Lemongello | August 17, 2021
A new poll shows widespread support for state and local mask mandates, including requiring them in schools.
The findings by the latest Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index released Tuesday come as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have faced backlash from school districts trying to impose mandatory mask rules, which both leaders have forbidden in classrooms.
But the poll also shows major partisan and localized differences, with Democrats and urbanites in favor of mandates and Republicans and rural residents against them.
In the poll of 1,041 adults, conducted Aug. 13 to 16, 64% of respondents supported their state or local government requiring masks in public places.
The vast majority of Democrats, 88%, support such mandates. But only 40% of Republicans did.
In addition, 71% of people in urban areas support mask mandates and just 49% of people in rural areas.
School mask mandates have near-universal support at 92%, Axios/Ipsos said, with 44% of Republicans supporting them.
DeSantis has opposed mask mandates almost from the beginning, though most of Florida’s major cities and counties had their own mandates until this year. DeSantis signed legislation giving the governor the power to overturn local mandates, which went into effect July 1.
A large majority, 69% also supported requiring masks in school.
There was no significant difference among parents or non-parents, at 68% and 70% support, respectively.
In addition, 66% of respondents opposed state laws such as the one in Florida that tie the hands of local governments. But 57% of Republicans supported such laws.
A large majority of 77% also opposed withholding funding from school districts that impose their own mandates.
So far, Broward and Alachua counties have flouted DeSantis and the state by putting in place strict mask mandates for schools.
The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.