A new survey published Monday found the country is deeply divided along political and gender-based fault lines regarding when to wear protective face masks.
Gallup measured a stark difference in the frequency of those wearing masks and their political affiliation and gender in the more than three months since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course and recommended mask-wearing.
“While majorities of women (54%), Democrats (61%), Northeasterners (54%), and those with annual household incomes under $36,000 (51%) say they always use masks outside their homes, their counterparts do so less often,” wrote Megan Brenan, Gallup research consultant. “Still, with just one exception, majorities in each of these subgroups — as well as education and age groups —say they wear a mask in public at least very often. The one exception is Republicans, among whom a majority say they wear masks infrequently—either sometimes (18%), rarely (9%), or never (27%).”
Fewer than one-quarter of Republican respondents, 24%, said they always wear masks outside the home.
The mask usage of independents, however, is neatly between that of Republicans and Democrats. Gallup found 41% of independent respondents said they always wore masks outside the home, while 32% said they sometimes, rarely, or never did.
The divide between men and women who say they always sport masks outside their home is 20 percentage points. Little more than one-third of male respondents, 34%, said they always wore masks, compared with a majority of women.
Gallup said its survey was conducted June 29 through July 5 on its “probability-based online Gallup Panel.” Gallup’s website for the panel said members may be contacted by phone, email, or mail.
The mask-wearing issue has already become a fixture on the presidential campaign trail. President Trump’s campaign offered masks to attendees of his rally in Oklahoma last month. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden, meanwhile, is selling ‘Biden’ masks for $20 each on his campaign website. Mr. Biden’s campaign notes that the masks are not medical grade, but are “Union Printed and Made-In-USA.”