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Will Fox News Republicans Listen to Biden on Masks?
12.04.2020

President-elect Joe Biden recently told CNN that he would call on Americans to mask up following his inauguration. “The first day I’m inaugurated to say I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask. Just 100 days to mask, not forever. One hundred days,” Biden said. “And I think we’ll see a significant reduction if we occur that, if that occurs with vaccinations and masking to drive down the numbers considerably.” 

PRRI data indicates that some Americans might not be amenable to that request.

Nearly one in four Americans (23%) believe that things like mask mandates, shutdowns, and other efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 are unreasonable attempts to control people. Republicans (43%) are significantly more likely than independents (28%) and Democrats (5%) to say these actions are unreasonable attempts to control people. More than half of Republicans who say that Fox News is their main source of television news (51%) say that mandates are unreasonable attempts to control people, compared to 38% of Republicans who trust other news sources. Four in ten Republicans (40%) report trusting Fox News most among television news sources.

Complicating the issue further, Republicans who most trust Fox News for information are nearly unanimous in their disdain for President-elect Biden. Almost all Fox News Republicans hold unfavorable opinions of Biden (97%), and the vast majority (84%) say they have very unfavorable views of Biden. Fox News Republicans are about twice as likely as all Americans to rate Biden unfavorably (49%).  Additionally, no Fox News Republicans (0%) place a lot of trust in Biden to provide accurate information on COVID-19. Only 7% of non-Fox News Republicans trust Biden a lot on this topic, and 83% view Biden unfavorably.

Despite the uphill battle that President-elect Biden will have in convincing a portion of the country that it is best to wear a mask, the broad majority of Americans report they are already wearing masks. Most Americans (78%) say they always wear a mask in public places to protect themselves against COVID-19, compared to 19% who say they wear a mask sometimes and just 3% who say they don’t wear a mask at all. Nearly two-thirds of Republicans (65%) report wearing a mask all the time, including 63% of Fox News Republicans.