Wearing a mask in public during our ongoing coronavirus epidemic is, objectively speaking, one of the absolute easiest things a person can possibly do to help prevent literal death for those around them. Just put two loops of fabric around your ears, and ... that's it! You're done! Despite this painfully obvious truism, there are those in this country — from rambling MAGA protesters who claim it's "better to be dead than a fucking dork" all the way up to President Trump himself — who have embraced the idea that their need to expose teeth and nostrils outweighs the general public's health.
But despite the high profile these mask-less hazards have claimed for themselves, a new poll from HuffPost/YouGov shows that, in fact, the overwhelming majority of the United States is perfectly fine with wearing some sort of facial covering during these dangerous pandemic days. And while there is some partisan divide when it comes to mask-wearing, it's not nearly as extreme as you might think.
All told, 62% of Americans — 72% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans — describe wearing face masks as a matter of public health, while just 29% say it's a question of personal freedom.
While a study released earlier this month indicated that men in particular were less likely to wear masks for fear that it would make them look "not cool" and "weak," the HuffPost/YouGov poll shows that the majority of Americans don't feel judged for wearing a mask — and those that do feel they're being judged tend more often to feel as if they're being judged positively.
One of the starkest splits in the poll comes in regards to Trump himself. When asked whether the president and other administration officials should wear masks while in public and near other people, 83% of Democrats agreed, compared to just 46% of Republicans. Notably, however, a slim majority of independents also agreed that White House officials should cover up, bumping the total number of Americans who want to see the president in a mask up to 63%.
The poll surveyed 1000 U.S. adults online from May 14-16. It has a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points. As HuffPost notes in its summation of the poll, the data gathered is conditional upon people's willingness to "self-report," as well as their own interpretations of terms such as "most of the time," etc.
Still, despite these caveats, the broad trend seems overwhelmingly clear: When it comes to wearing masks, the president, with his macho preference to let his chin fly free, is decidedly in the minority.