Health

A Judge Struck Down the Federal Mask Mandate for Transit. Most Voters Were on Board With Extending It

Support for 15-day extension of mask requirement driven by Democrats

People wearing masks enter and exit a Brooklyn subway station on April 13, 2022, in New York City. A Morning Consult/Politico survey found that 59% of registered voters said they support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s extension to May 3, 2022, of the mask mandate on transit. A federal judge in Florida later struck down the mandate. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Biden administration’s mask mandate for planes, trains and other modes of transportation is no more. But a new Morning Consult/Politico survey shows most voters were on board with keeping it in place through early May — and about half say it’s still too soon to lift transit mask rules.

What you need to know
  • About 3 in 5 voters said they support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision last week to extend the federal mask mandate for transit hubs through May 3, but a federal judge in Florida struck it down Monday, prompting several airlines and ride-sharing apps to lift their mask mandates. One in 3 voters opposed the CDC’s move.
  • Democrats largely supported the mandate’s 15-day extension, with 83% in favor and 11% opposing the move. Meanwhile, 57% of Republicans opposed the extension and 35% supported it.
  • The number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States rose by 19% over the past week, and the CDC extended the mask mandate so it could monitor whether that trend holds. White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the Florida judge’s ruling “disappointing,” and highlighted that the CDC recommends that people continue to wear masks while traveling.
What you need to know
  • Voters had a range of opinions on when mask requirements on public transportation should be lifted. About half of voters said it’s still too early, while 16% said it’s the right time and the same share said it’s overdue. About 1 in 10, meanwhile, said the requirement never should’ve existed in the first place.
  • While the vast majority of Democrats (70%) said it’s too soon to lift such mandates, Republicans were divided. Roughly 3 in 10 said the rules should’ve been lifted already, but a quarter said it’s still too early and about 1 in 5 each said it’s either the right time or that the rules never should’ve been in place.
  • The findings come as the future of mask mandates more broadly remains in question. Philadelphia became the first major U.S. city to reinstate indoor mask requirements last week, but a group of businesses and residents promptly sued, saying that local officials lack the authority to impose mask mandates.
  • Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House’s new COVID-19 czar, said over the weekend that decisions about indoor mask rules should be made at the local level.

 

The April 15-17, 2022, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 2,005 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points. 

Morning Consult