A quick scroll of social media may paint a picture of the nation's bitter divide over masks, but an exclusive Spectrum News/Ipsos poll reveals that a majority of both Democrats and Republicans in Florida thinks the state should have a law mandating that masks be worn at all times in public.
The numbers also illustrate the ongoing financial struggles of Florida’s restaurants and theme parks as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
What You Need To Know
- New exclusive Spectrum News/Ipsos poll surveyed 1,800 Florida residents on a variety of issues
- Majority doesn’t feel comfortable visiting theme park; half are uncomfortable dining in restaurants
- More than quarter of respondents have a friend or relative who has tested positive for COVID-19
- Voting by Mail in Florida: Frequently Asked Questions
- Get a complete voter guide, in-depth election information and breaking news in Spectrum News' 2020 Election Hub.
- SCROLL TO BOTTOM: ▼ Full Spectrum News/Ipsos poll findings and methodology ▼
Should Florida Have a Mask Law?
As far as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is concerned, the science is settled. In fact, just this week, the CDC updated its guidance to “strongly” recommend wearing masks during public travel.
But, while Americans appear to be sharply split over the effectiveness of covering your face to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, two-thirds (67%) of Floridians who responded to our exclusive poll widely agree – Florida should pass a law mandating masks in public places.
Those who identify as Democrats or Republicans, however, don’t share that sentiment equally.
Mask Law Views By Political Party
It wasn’t until July 21 — months into the pandemic — that President Donald Trump first publicly endorsed wearing masks.
“I have no problem with the masks. I view it this way: Anything that potentially can help, and that certainly can potentially help, is a good thing. I have no problem. I carry it, I wear it ... and I’ll continue," he said from the briefing room podium.
In April, he said, “I just don’t want to wear one myself” — so it’s not surprising 41% of Florida Republicans don’t support a statewide mask mandate. But the majority (54%) does.
Most Florida Democrats (84%) say face coverings should be required in public.
Uncomfortable in Restaurants
After months of turning once-bustling dining rooms into strictly takeout and delivery operations, restaurant owners are facing a harsh reality: Half of Floridians surveyed in our exclusive poll still aren’t ready to slide into a restaurant booth.
Just 44% said they feel comfortable dining inside a restaurant.
But Florida’s biggest tourist attractions are facing an even steeper climb.
Staying Away From Theme Parks
They account for a huge percentage of Florida’s tourism industry, and the state’s theme parks are undoubtedly in serious trouble.
Thousands of layoffs and furloughs have made the corporate cash crunch a kitchen-table crisis for all the affected employees, and our exclusive poll did not detect a swift return to normalcy.
When asked whether they feel comfortable visiting a theme park in the next three months, only 32% of Floridians said yes.
That number rises slightly along the I-4 corridor — 34% in Tampa Bay and 38% in Central Florida.
The broad hesitation to venture into uncertain situations could likely be the result of just how far COVID-19 has spread throughout the Sunshine State.
Personal Experience with the Pandemic
After a while, it becomes difficult to put the daily coronavirus updates into perspective. According to the Department of Health, Florida reported on Thursday another 5,489 positive cases – the largest single-day increase in more than month.
But they’re not cases. They’re people.
Each one faces the prospect of a rapid recovery or a fight for survival, and their battle isn’t fought in a vacuum. Those closest to them all feel the effects.
Our exclusive poll found that more almost half (44%) of Floridians have a relative or friend who’s already tested positive for COVID-19.
Read it: Exclusive Spectrum News/Ipsos Poll Findings and Methodology
Editor’s Note (10/23/20) – The net approve/disapprove values for the following subsets of Question 21 have been updated by Ipsos: Black Americans receive equal treatment to white Americans in this country, Racism is a significant problem in Florida and Lately, I do not feel safe in my community.