A slim majority of Americans support a return to mask-wearing protocols amid renewed fears of getting seriously ill from Covid-19, according to a Monmouth University poll released Monday.
The survey, conducted before the CDC revised guidance last week to advise even vaccinated individuals to wear masks indoors in places with high levels of coronavirus transmission, found that 52 percent of Americans were at least somewhat supportive of reinstating mask and social-distancing rules in their state. About 46 percent of those polled were opposed to the idea.
However, there was a substantial partisan divide, with 85 percent of Democrats supporting a return to mask wearing and 73 percent of Republicans opposed. Independents were also against the idea, with 42 percent supportive of mask guidelines and 55 percent opposed.
The reemergence of the mask issue, one of the most politically fraught symbols of public life during the pandemic, has posed a challenge to the Biden administration eager to show signs of progress in combating Covid-19.
The poll of 804 adults was taken July 21-26 and had a margin of sampling error of 3.5 percentage points.
The poll also found that more than half of those surveyed had concerns that a member of their family could become seriously ill from Covid-19, a more than 10 percentage-point jump from the results a month prior. The spike comes as the highly transmissible Delta variant has rippled through communities across the country, reversing months of progress in stemming hospitalizations and fatalities.
Still, 17 percent of respondents said they were adamantly against getting vaccinated. Of that group, 70 percent said they were aligned with the Republican Party, compared with just 6 percent who said they sided with Democrats.
A smaller proportion of those polled — 9 percent — said they had reservations about the vaccine but were open to being persuaded. That cohort had less of a partisan divide, with 45 percent saying they were Republican or leaned that way versus 40 percent who tilted toward Democrats.
The poll found that respondents’ views of their fellow Americans had grown increasingly negative. More than half said the American public was doing a poor job handling the pandemic, up from 40 percent in June, and fewer than a third in the most recent survey said the populace was doing a good job — down from 42 percent in Monmouth’s poll a month ago.