SALT LAKE CITY – Only 36 percent of Utahns believe that individuals should be allowed to decide for themselves whether to wear face coverings in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
By contrast, 61 percent of respondents to a late July survey by the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah said that decision should be mandated by either state or local officials.
Those poll results come in the midst of continuing debate about whether Gov. Gary Herbert should make the wearing of face coverings in public mandatory on a statewide basis.
Despite several much-publicized calls to do so, Herbert has been reluctant to impose a statewide mask mandate, preferring to let local officials take the political heat for making that decision.
Logan Mayor Holly Daines is among local officials who have proactively taken that step. Daines issued an executive order Aug. 1 making the wearing of face coverings mandatory for Logan residents and visitors for at least 30 days.
With that order, Logan has joined a handful of other local entities in Utah that have made the wearing of face coverings in public mandatory. Those entities are Salt Lake City and three Utah counties: Grand, Salt Lake and Summit.
While those local mask mandates continue to be controversial, the municipal and county officials who imposed those orders have received little support from state level. Even Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox — a gubernatorial candidate and the head of the state’s COVID-19 Task Force — has refused to voice an opinion on whether face coverings should be made mandatory.
The Hinckley poll found that 43 percent of its respondents believe that Herbert should impose a statewide mask mandate.
Another 18 percent of the 1,000 Utahns surveyed by pollster Scott Rasmussen said they believed that any decision about mask mandates should be made at local level.
Of the 43 percent of Utahns polled who favor a statewide mask mandate, 82 percent were Democrats and 26 percent were Republicans.
Of the 36 percent of respondents who preferred personal responsibility rather than governmental mask mandates, 49 percent were Republicans, 8 percent were Democrats and 31 percent indicated other political affiliations.
Rasmussen polled 1,000 registered voters between July 27 and Aug. 1. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.