Nearly two in three Americans say wearing face masks in public should be mandatory

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
June 26, 2020, 6:30 PM UTC

On Thursday, Former Vice President Joe Biden “insist[ed] that everybody in public be wearing a [face] mask” and went a step further to say that if he’s elected president in November, he would leverage federal power to mandate mask wearing and slow the spread of COVID-19.  
 
A new Yahoo News/YouGov poll fielded June 24-25, 2020 shows people support such a mandate. Nearly two in three Americans (65%) say masks should be required in public places including a majority of registered voters (64%) and Democrats (86%). By contrast, just 46 percent of Republicans say masks should be required in public and a narrow majority say they should not (54%). 

How often do Americans wear masks? 
 
The number of new coronavirus cases soared in 30 states over the last two weeks and Washington became the latest state to implement a statewide mandate on face masks. Across the United States, more than two in five Americans say they wear mask all the time while in public (44%). An additional quarter (26%) say they wear a mask most of the time and a fifth (21%) say they wear one some of the time.  One in 10 people report they never wear a mask (10%).  

 Face masks in short weeks have deepened the political divide between Democrats and Republicans including whether or not they wear one. By two to one, Democrats (63%) are more likely than Republicans (31%) to say they always wear a face mask in public.  
 
But face masks are not the only health guideline recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to receive partisan treatment. At least six in 10 Democrats (63%) say they always practice social distancing compared with 41 percent of Republicans. Overall, nearly one in two Americans (49%) say they always practice social distancing and few (5%) say they never do.  
 
MethodologyThe Yahoo! News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,507 U.S. adult residents interviewed online between June 24-25, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US residents. The margin of error is approximately 3.6%.

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Yahoo News/YouGov Poll 

Image: Getty