Coronavirus Report

79 percent say they support national face mask mandate: poll

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A vast majority of voters say they support a national face mask mandate amid skyrocketing coronavirus cases in parts of the United States that have the nation going in the wrong direction compared to many other countries.

A new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill found that 79 percent of respondents said they would support such a mandate, while another 70 percent said they supported the idea of local governments imposing fees on individuals who do not wear masks.

“It’s a very logical public — first and foremost they care about curbing the virus and so they back masks and full enforcements of masks,” said Harvard CAPS/Harris polling director Mark Penn.

Masks have become a political issue, and for moths President Trump refused to wear one. He also made fun of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for wearing a mask, and said a reporter at the White House was wearing a mask to make a political point.

But Trump in the last week, amid plummeting poll numbers and voter displeasure with his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, has shifted.

Trump donned a mask during a visit to Walter Reed Medical Center earlier this month. He appeared to make his most vocal endorsement of wearing a face-covering last week when he tweeted a photo of himself wearing a mask, calling the practice “patriotic.”

“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 tweeted. “There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!”

Larry Kudlow, one of Trump’s economic advisers, wore a mask Monday while speaking to reporters outside the White House. 

Other polls have found that a majority of voters support state-level mandates that impose fines or jail time on people that do not wear face masks.

A Politico/Morning Consult survey conducted earlier this month found that 53 percent of registered voters said they were in favor of statewide mask mandates that if violated result in fines or jail time.

Thirty states have mask mandates, including Texas, which has seen a rise in cases over the last month.

Vermont became one of the latest states to issue a mask mandate, with Gov. Phil Scott (R) making the announcement Friday.

Additionally, numerous corporations now require customers to wear face coverings when on their premises.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in April recommended Americans wear a face covering in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey of 1,932 registered voters was conducted on July 21-23. It is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll throughout 2020.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.

Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden Larry Kudlow Mark Penn

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