60 Percent of Floridians Support School Mask Mandates Despite Ron DeSantis' Ban: Poll

A new poll found 60 percent of Floridians support requiring mask-wearing in schools as the legal battle continues over Governor Ron DeSantis' ban on mask mandates.

According to the Quinnipiac University poll published Tuesday, Floridians support requiring students, teachers and staff to wear a mask by 60 to 36 percent.

The poll found significant partisan divides on the issue, as 98 percent of Democrats surveyed support school mask mandates; only one percent do not. Of Republicans surveyed, 72 percent said they oppose mask mandates, while 24 percent said they support them. Independents support them by a margin of 63 to 32 percent, the poll found.

However, when asked whether schools or parents should decide if students wear masks, some respondents offered a different opinion. A separate question found that 54 percent said schools should be able to require masks, while 44 percent said parents should decide if their students wear a mask.

When it comes to DeSantis' threat to withhold salaries from school leaders who require mask-wearing, 69 percent of respondents said they disagreed, while 25 percent supported the policy.

A plurality of voters—46 percent—believe DeSantis is hurting efforts to limit the virus' spread, while 41 percent said he is helping slow it.

COVID-19 vaccine
Most Floridians support mandating mask wearing in schools, a new Quinnipiac University poll found. Here, a healthcare worker administers a vaccine to a woman in Miami on August 5, 2021. CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Most Floridians—74 percent—said they have either received their COVID-19 vaccine or plan to. Nineteen percent said they do not intend to get the vaccine. Of those, 68 percent said they believe getting the vaccine would be more damaging to their health than contracting the virus.

Mask mandates in schools have become a high-profile political issue in the Sunshine State due to DeSantis' executive order banning school districts from requiring masks. Some school districts—including Miami-Dade, Leon, and Sarasota counties—have defied the governor's ban.

On Monday, a lawsuit filed by parents challenging the order went to court for a three-day hearing, Newsweek previously reported.

In the wake of DeSantis' executive order, many Floridians have expressed frustration over the policy. As of Tuesday, more than 81,000 people have signed a petition to recall the governor. Some polls have also indicated a potential political blowback.

A recent Political Matrix/The Listener Group poll found both of DeSantis' Democratic challengers—U.S. Representative Charlie Crist and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried—have a lead over him.

However, a poll by Future Majority found DeSantis with a lead against both.

COVID-19 cases have increased in Florida since July due to the highly transmissible Delta variant. On Monday, the state had a 7-day average of 37,685 new cases per day, compared to 10,452 one month earlier, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Newsweek reached out to DeSantis' office for comment Tuesday evening but had not heard back in time for publication.