Fox News viewers say President Trump should encourage people to use face masks

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
July 21, 2020, 7:00 PM GMT+0

President Donald Trump told Fox News’ Chris Wallace that he disagrees with a CDC recommendation that wearing a mask could help stop the spread of COVID-19.

"No. I want people to have a certain freedom, and I don't believe in that, no," Trump said. "And I don't agree with the statement that if everybody would wear a mask, everything disappears." The veteran news man was interviewing the president on a wide range of topics and the president ended the exchange about masks by saying, “I'm a believer in masks. I think masks are good.”

Still, many Fox viewers seem to think the president could take a stronger stance while states like Florida, Arizona, and South Carolina and other parts of America struggle to slow and contain the spread of COVID-19.

Close to three in four Americans—including 63 percent of Fox News viewers—say Trump should personally wear a mask to set a good example, according to a Yahoo News/YouGov poll fielded July 11-14, 2020.

The disparity between Fox viewers and the average US adult carries through to other questions and the poll shows differences in the perception and use of face masks based on which cable news network Americans watch the most. For instance, six in 10 people who said they get their news from cable news and selected Fox News as their primary cable news source (i.e., Fox News viewers) say they wear always wear a mask or do so at least most of the time in public (60% vs. 70% of US adults). An additional 27 percent of Fox News viewers say they sometimes wear mask when leaving their homes and 13 percent say they never wear one.

While many Fox News viewers say they wear a mask at least most of the time, the same audience seems torn on the idea of a federal mask mandate. By 53 percent to 47 percent, Fox News viewers say it should be mandatory to wear a mask in public. Most Americans appear to support the idea of a nationwide mandate with 67 percent saying masks should mandatory in public places. There is overwhelming support for a mask mandate among people who say they get their cable news from networks other than Fox News (84%).

See the full toplines and crosstabs from this Yahoo News/YouGov survey

Methodology: This Yahoo News/YouGov survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,504 US residents interviewed online between July 11-14, 2020. Within this article, “Fox News viewers” were defined as those who said cable news was their main source of news then answered the question, “Which cable news network do you watch the most?” with Fox News. Respondents who selected “CNN,” “MSNBC,” or “Other cable news network” were categorized as “Non-Fox cable news viewers.” The margin of error for the overall sample is +/- 3.2 points.

Image: Getty