When it comes to flying, Americans are split on whether the government should force passengers to mask up, according to a new survey.
According to Gallup, while 49% of U.S. adults say the federal government should mandate that all passengers over the age of 2 wear a face mask, 51% think wearing a mask should be a personal choice.
The latest revelation is from Gallup’s COVID-19 tracking survey, which was conducted after the national mask mandate for public transportation was struck down by a federal judge.
Adults aged 18 to 44 are the most likely age group to say they would choose to wear a face mask, with 65% responding that they would do so. Among those aged 65 and older, six in 10 said they would choose to wear a mask, while those aged 45 to 64 are the least likely – 53% – to say they would.
Requiring face masks on airplanes is a politically charged issue, the poll found, with 81% of Democrats in favor of a mandate to just 13% of Republicans. Forty percent of Independents reported favoring a requirement.
The partisan gap is similar to previous findings on masking, Gallup said.
Although the nation is divided on mandating face masks on airplanes, 60% of Americans say that they would voluntarily wear a mask if they were flying in the next few days, versus 40% who said they would choose to go maskless.
Political party identification was the most influential factor in making the decision to wear a mask, the poll found.
While 90% of Democrats and 54% of Independents said they would wear one, only 22% of Republicans said the same.
Women, younger adults and people of color – subgroups which generally favor the Democrat Party – are more likely to say they would wear a mask on a plane. Women are also much more likely than men to do so, 67% to 52%.
The Biden administration has appealed the ruling that rescinded the federal transportation mask mandate, and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to encourage travelers to wear a mask.
According to The Washington Post, the Federal Aviation Administration has received more than 3,400 reports of “unruly” passengers this year, three-quarters of which are related to the federal mask mandate for public transportation.
The poll was conducted from April 25 to May 2 and surveyed 3,995 adults. The margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.
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