May 5, 2021 - Health

Poll: Mask use drops after CDC relaxes guidelines

Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Note: 3.3% margin of error; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Vaccinated Americans are easing up on wearing masks — but so are unvaccinated Americans, according to a new Ipsos poll.

Why it matters: The latest findings are an early snapshot of how people are modifying their behavior since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week that fully vaccinated people don't have to wear masks outside.

The big picture: Overall, 57% of the respondents said they still wear a mask at all times when leaving the house.

  • 24% said they wear masks sometimes but not all the time, 11% said they do occasionally but not often and 8% said they never do.
  • But the share of vaccinated people who reported wearing masks at all times has dropped since mid-April. It's now 63%, down from 74% in the April 16-19 Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index poll.

Between the lines: Vaccinated people are still much more likely to wear masks than unvaccinated people, who are at greater risk of catching or spreading the virus.

  • 47% of unvaccinated Americans say they're wearing masks at all times outside the home, barely dipping from 49% in mid-April.
  • But look at the growth over the same period of time among unvaccinated Americans who say they occasionally or never wear masks outside the home: a jump from 23% to 34%.

A plurality of respondents gave a thumbs up to the CDC mask guidance, with 43% in favor of relaxed outdoor guidelines and 13% opposed.

  • 22% neither favored nor opposed it, and 21% hadn't heard about it.
  • 53% of respondents say they've gotten either both doses of the two-shot vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) or the single-shot vaccine (Johnson & Johnson), while 13% say they've gotten the first of two doses.
  • Another 11% say they plan to get the vaccine — while 22% say they're unlikely to get it.

The intrigue: The least likely generation to wear masks at all times? Gen X, at 51%. That's compared to 59% of Baby Boomers, 57% of Millennials, and 65% of Gen Z.

Methodology: This poll was conducted April 30-May 3 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,022 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.
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