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Poll: Majority of Virginians support mask mandates

A large majority of Virginians (75 percent) indicated they are concerned that new COVID-19 variants will lead to a worsening pandemic in their local community, according to a new statewide poll conducted by the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.

On Aug. 12, the Virginia health commissioner issued an emergency statewide requirement to wear masks in K-12 schools. A majority of Virginians (71 percent) support this mandate. A smaller majority (57 percent) indicate that they would support a federal mandate requiring masks to be worn indoors.

Virginia covid-19
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The poll featured landline and mobile telephone interviews from Sept. 7-15 with a representative sample of 811 adults living in Virginia. It has a margin of error of 5.35 percent.

There is a wide divide among Democrats, Republicans and independents on concern that new COVID-19 variants will lead to a worsening of the pandemic in their communities, with 93 percent of Democrats indicating concern, compared to 68 percent of independents and 58 percent of Republicans.

Democrats (87 percent) are more supportive of a federal mandate requiring masks indoors than Republicans (24 percent) or independents (60 percent). White, non-Hispanic Virginians were less likely to support a federal mask mandate than minority and/or Hispanic Virginians (49 percent to 70 percent, respectively). Female respondents were more supportive of a mask mandate than male respondents (62 percent to 51 percent).

Similarly, Democrats (94 percent) are also more supportive of the Virginia health commissioner’s recent mandate for masks in K-12 schools, compared to Republicans (43 percent) and independents (80 percent). Minority and/or Hispanic Virginians again were more supportive than white, non-Hispanic Virginians (83 percent to 64 percent).