- WASHINGTON EXAMINER - JULY 29, 2021 - Paul Bedard, Washington Secrets Columnist -
In a sign that President Joe Biden’s new call for masks even on the vaccinated could turn contentious, a groundbreaking survey has found that just 41% feel mask mandates on airlines should be extended, and a near equal number just won’t wear them.
The latest “Back-To-Normal Barometer,” provided to Secrets, showed limited support for continuing the coronavirus protocols that Biden is putting back into place today after his effort to get the nation vaccinated fell short.
The survey, the latest in a series charting the nation’s slow return from the March 2020 COVID-19 shutdown, said that just 41% feel it will be “necessary to extend the federal mandate that all airline passengers wear masks on all flights, past mid-September.” It was 50% in May.
Biden’s plan is targeted at federal workers and workplaces but is likely to be a model for states and agencies that handle the public, including the FAA.
In a finding closer to what Biden is proposing, just 40% said they will continue to wear a mask “when in the presence of others.”
According to the analysis, “Respondents from the Northeast (44%) and West (46%) are much more likely to wear facial coverings than those from the Midwest (30%) and South (38%). Democrats (51%) are nearly twice as likely as Republicans (27%) to wear masks.”
In the analysis, the poll sponsors warned that mask rules are likely to become contentious — or worse.
Ron Bonjean of ROKK Solutions, a top communications firm in Washington and one of three businesses that sponsor the survey, said that the public is losing patience with all the rules. The two others are Sports and Leisure Research Group and the research firm Engagious.
“Patience is growing thin among Americans being forced to comply with federal mask mandates,” said Bonjean. “As mask mandates begin to cover much of the country and our nation’s schools, it is likely that this is going to receive negative reaction, especially from those who are vaccinated,” he added.
“Our tracking data has shown sentiment consistently trending away from supporting resumption of COVID-related restrictions or mandates,” said Jon Last, president of Sports and Leisure Research Group.
He warned that the new re-masking rules could lead to trouble.
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