Political divide of wearing a mask

UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication Professor explains the difference between Democrats and Republicans
Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 5:58 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Support for wearing a mask seems to be falling along party lines.

"Most people support the idea of wearing masks," Prof. Mike Wagner with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication said.

Wagner specializing in politics and has participated in numerous research projects at UW-Madison.

"In general, majorities of democrats and republicans believe that people should wear masks when they're in enclosed tight spaces," Wagner said.

A recent NBC News poll supports Wagner’s claim. The survey shows that 48% of Republicans said they put a mask on every time they leave their house and may have contact with people; 71% of Independents and 86% of Democrats gave the same answer.

“There is a difference among those who think that they shouldn’t, and those people are usually republicans,” Wagner said. “One reason that we found in the work we’ve done at the UW about that is that they’re getting messages from more of their party leaders who are skeptical of mask wearing.”

For example, Pres. Trump was outspoken for months about his doubts that wearing a mask could slow the spread of COVID-19. However, last week when the president Tweeted that it was 'patriotic' to wear one.

“So, there’s communication from the leaders of the party that ‘maybe this isn’t a good idea’ or ‘maybe this isn’t necessary,’ and I think that’s why we see that’s why we see the partisan difference,” Wagner said.

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