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Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Most parents back mask mandates, but the states where GOP parents are most opposed aren't the ones we always hear about, according to a new Axios/Momentive poll.

Why it matters: While plenty of attention has centered around debates around the public health measures in schools in states like Texas and Florida, the poll offers a glimpse at how much more widespread opposition is across the country.

As expected, individuals' feelings on mask mandates fell along party lines, with 85% of Democrats, 66% of independents, and 32% of Republicans supporting mask mandates for all students and staff at their child’s school.

  • But rather than states where school mask mandates bans have been in the national spotlight, such as Texas and Florida, opposition to school mask mandates is highest in Colorado (37%), Minnesota (38%), and Ohio (43%) — as well as Iowa (44%), which does have a ban.
  • Drilling down even deeper, fewer than half (46%) of Republicans in Texas —which has been especially hard hit by COVID in recent weeks — oppose all mask mandates. In comparison, 70% of Colorado Republicans oppose the mandates.
  • In Florida, more than half of Republican parents (52%) say they oppose all mask mandates. In comparison, Republican parents oppose the mandates by margins ranging from 2:1 to 3:1 in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois, the poll found.

What they're saying: "The cross-state variability in Republican sentiment is notable," Jon Cohen, the chief research officer for Momentive told Axios. "School politics is ultimately local too, so a deeper dive within the states is a clear next step."

By the numbers: Overall, nearly 60% of parents backed the broadest school mandates, nearly twice as many as the number who say they oppose all mask mandates.

  • Another 10% of parents with children age five to 17 say they support mask mandates only for those students and staff members who are unvaccinated.

The intrigue: The poll also found a big gender and age divide when it comes to parents' feelings about mask mandates.

  • More mothers than fathers (66% vs. 50%) support mask mandates for all students and staff. More fathers than mothers (36% vs. 24%) oppose all mask mandates.
  • Republican parents under age 35 are 10 percentage points more likely than older ones to back requiring masks at school.

The data are from an Axios|Momentive online poll conducted August 16-25, 2021 among 38,251 adults ages 18 and older in the United States. The modeled error estimate for the full, national sample is plus or minus 1.0 percentage points."

Editor's note: This piece was corrected to show that Iowa does have a ban on mask mandates.

Go deeper

16 hours ago - Health

Chicago has highest COVID-19 case rates in city worker neighborhoods

Maps show COVID-19 positivity rates (left) are highest in two ZIP codes where the highest concentrations of Chicago municipal workers happen to live (right). Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

COVID hot spots have moved all over Chicago in the past 18 months, but in recent weeks, the highest rates have emerged in two ZIP codes on the far Southwest and Northwest Sides, according to city data.

  • 60655 covers parts of Beverly, Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood.
  • 60656 covers parts of Jefferson Park and Norwood Park.
16 hours ago - Health

Pfizer coronavirus vaccine safe, effective in children, company says

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective in children ages 5 to 11, albeit at a lower dose than adults receive, the companies said in a press release announcing results from a pediatric trial.

Why it matters: The trial results are a much-needed source of hope for families with elementary school-aged children, who currently aren't eligible for a vaccine.

18 hours ago - Health

The COVID booster vaccine discussion is far from over

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An FDA advisory panel may have green-lit a third shot of the Pfizer vaccine for a somewhat narrow slice of the population, but the messy process of figuring out who should get another shot of the vaccine — and when — has likely just begun.

Why it matters: Many vaccinated Americans are worried about their level of protection as the pandemic continues to rage. The piecemeal booster decision-making process may be the best way to keep pace with the science, but it's also at risk of becoming extremely confusing.