CORONAVIRUS

Nearly 3 in 4 Voters Support State Face Mask Mandate With Penalties for Those Who Don’t Comply

Democrats about twice as likely as GOP voters to ‘strongly support’ such a rule

Visitors wear face masks on a walking path in Joshua Tree National Park in California on May 18, 2020. A new Morning Consult/Politico poll found that 72 percent of voters said they would support a mandate in their state requiring people to wear a face mask in public places, with those who don’t facing a fine or jail time. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
July 22, 2020 at 6:00 am ET
  • 86% of Democrats support a mandate in their state that could result in a fine or jail time for people who don’t wear masks.

  • 58% of Republicans also back such a measure, with 35 percent opposing it.

With rising rates of coronavirus cases across the United States, many states have adopted face mask mandates for residents in public places, while other governors weigh the decision to impose similar rules. In a new Morning Consult/Politico survey, most voters say they support such a mandate in their own state, and they also back penalties for those who refuse to comply.

In the July 17-19 poll, 72 percent of voters said they support a mandate in their state that would require people to wear a face mask in public places and could punish those who don’t with a fine or jail time. Twenty-one percent of respondents said they’d oppose such a requirement, less than half the share who would strongly back it (53 percent).

A statewide mask mandate had the strongest support among Democratic voters, with 86 percent backing the rule, including 71 percent who said they “strongly support” it. A majority of Republicans (58 percent) also backed the proposal, though they were nearly half as likely as Democrats to say they strongly support such a measure. Over one-third of GOP voters opposed the face mask mandate. Among independents, 68 percent backed the rule, with 23 percent opposing it.

The poll was conducted among 1,991 registered voters and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

As the coronavirus pandemic has continued to surge in recent weeks, it has moved more governors to require the wearing of face masks in public places. Recent reports have shown that more than half of U.S. states have imposed a statewide face mask mandate, with certain exemptions included for infants or those with medical conditions. 

Some states have gone as far as threatening legal action against those who don’t comply with their orders. Washington imposed a statewide face mask order on June 26 that could result in misdemeanor charges for individuals without a mask in public, and on July 16, Alabama enacted a mandate that includes a potential $500 fine or jail time for those found in violation of the order.

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