TAMPA, Fla. — As Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues to fight school districts across the state over mask mandates, new polling from Quinnipiac University shows most Floridians think the governor is on the wrong side of the issue.
According to the Quinnipiac University poll, most Floridians, 60-36%, support requiring students, teachers, and staff to wear masks in schools. But, like almost every facet of life in 2021, there is a stark political divide on the issue with 98% of Democrats supporting mandatory masking, 63% of independents supporting the policy, and 72% of Republicans opposing mandating masking.
In a separate question, the Q-Poll found that nearly 70% (68-29) of Floridians said that local officials should be able to require masks in indoor public spaces if they deem it necessary. Almost 60 percent of Floridians (59-39) said everyone should be required to wear masks while in indoor public spaces.
Going further on masks, 64% of Floridians said, "masks or face covering are effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19." Additionally, 63 percent of Floridians said the issue of wearing masks is primarily about "public health," while 33% said it was about "personal freedom," with 58 percent of Republicans saying masks were about personal freedom.
The spike of COVID-19 cases in Florida has driven the discussion on masks and 59% of Floridians surveyed said the spread of COVID-19 in the state is out of control. A majority of Floridians, 61%, said the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the state was preventable.
“Concerns about COVID-19 are palpable, and frustration with the surge in cases is reflected in the fact that a majority of Floridians say it should never have happened,” said Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy.
That spelled bad news for Governor DeSantis as 41 percent of those polled said he was helping efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 while 46% said he is hurting efforts; 12% did not have an opinion. The five-point difference is outside the poll's margin of error of 3.1%.
Finally, on vaccinations, the Q-poll found 74% said they have either received a COVID-19 vaccine or plan to get one while 19% said they don’t plan to get a vaccine. Among those refusing to get vaccinated, 68% said the vaccine would “be more damaging to their health than becoming infected with COVID-19.”