Poll: Majority of Republicans favor requiring face masks in public

A majority of Republicans support requiring people to wear face masks when outside the home, according to a new survey from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. 

Eighty-nine percent of Democrats and 58 percent of Republicans favor mask mandates in the poll released Thursday, which was conducted before President Trump said this week that it is “patriotic” to wear one.

The poll found that three out of four Americans support wearing facial covers outside, while two-thirds disapprove of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump resumed White House COVID-19 briefings on Tuesday after the once-daily updates tapered off in late April. The president has trumpeted recent advances in the effort to secure a coronavirus vaccine while downplaying spikes in cases in multiple states as “embers” that will eventually die out.

“Not wearing a mask, to me, poses a greater risk of spreading the COVID,” Darius Blevins, a 33-year-old Republican-leaning independent from Christiansburg, Va., told the AP. Blevins said he wears facial covers in public because “it’s much more effective than not wearing the mask.”

Earlier this month, Trump wore a mask for the first time during his visit to Walter Reed hospital, but he has said he will not be issuing a national mask mandate, preferring to leave that decision up to individual states.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield has said that the U.S. could get COVID-19 “under control” in one to two months if everyone wore masks.

As the nation nears 4 million recorded COVID-19 cases, three-quarters of respondents in Thursday’s poll said restrictions to slow the virus’s spread should outweigh concerns about the economy.

Still, some Republicans, such as California retiree Kimberly Greenan, 67, told the AP they favor relaxing some pandemic restrictions despite a personal choice to wear masks in crowded areas such as stores or church. 

“If people are vigilant, if they do what’s right, this economy could come back,” Greenan said.

The AP-NORC poll surveyed 1,057 U.S. adults from July 16 to 20. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

Tags California COVID-19 pandemic Donald Trump Indiana Mike Pence Ohio Republican Party Robert Redfield United States White House coronavirus task force

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