Significant Statistic | How Utahns View the National Masquerade

Written by: Christopher Collard

While Provo, Utah, made national news in July as the location of a protest against masks, a majority of Utah’s voters think that either the state or businesses should require the use of masks in public. And nearly all Utahns support at least encouraging mask wearing.

In early July, we surveyed Utah voters for our Utah Priorities Project. We found that 42% of them think the state should mandate mask wearing in public, while another 21% felt that instead of the state, businesses should mandate mask wearing on their properties. Another 29% of voters would prefer encouragement over mandates. A small minority of Utahns are not even interested in encouragement.

42% of Utah voters think Utah should mandate mask wearing in public to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Figure 1: Overall Voter Views on Masking

* The question asked was “When thinking about how Utah should approach the use of face masks in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, which of the following statements comes closest to your view – even if none of them are exactly right”

Voters in more-urban counties (Weber, Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties) along the Wasatch Front proposed different approaches than the rest of the state. The share of voters in the four more-urban counties supporting a state mandate and the share supporting encouragement without a mandate are inversed in the more-rural counties. Additionally, the share of voters who oppose mask encouragement is twice as large in the more-rural counties than it is the more-urban counties.

Rural voters prefer lower levels of mask enforcement.

Figure 2: Mask Wearing, Wasatch Front Compared to the Rest of the State

Opinions varied widely across ideological lines. While 87% of strongly liberal voters thought there should be a state mandate, only 14% of strongly conservative voters thought the same thing.

Conversely, 5% of strongly liberal voters thought that masks should be encouraged but not required while half of strongly conservative voters thought the same thing.

Liberal voters more strongly favor a state masking mandate. Conservative voters tend to favor encouragement without a mandate.

Figure 3: Masking by Political Leaning

White voters were more likely than Hispanic/Latino voters or other racial groups to support masks being mandated by businesses rather than the state. Hispanic/Latino voters were more likely to support a state mandate. This may relate to the disproportionate manner in which the coronavirus is infecting Hispanic/Latino Utahns, highlighted in previous Utah Foundation research.

Hispanic Utah Voters are substantially more supportive of state-mandated masks.

Figure 4: Mask Wearing by Race and Ethnicity

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