MIAMI, Fla. — Deeply concerned about spiking COVID-19 infections in their state, three in four Florida voters support allowing local school districts to require masks, a new poll released Thursday shows. The poll, commissioned by concerned medical professionals with the Florida Chapter of the Committee to Protect Health Care, also shows a majority of voters disapprove of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which focuses on opposing local school and community mask and vaccine requirements.
“For months, physicians and health professionals across Florida have asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to support safety measures to protect health and save lives, only to see him do the opposite on every front — and we know now that Floridians are also extremely opposed to his out-of-touch response,” said Dr. Bernard Ashby, a Miami cardiologist and Florida State Lead for the Committee to Protect Health Care. “We commissioned this poll to see if DeSantis’ policies are as unpopular as we know they are dangerous, and the results couldn’t be more clear: When three-fourths of Florida voters say local school districts should be allowed to implement universal masks to prevent children, teachers, school staff and their loved ones from getting sick, that’s a resounding message that Gov. DeSantis is at odds with Floridians.”
Data for Progress collaborated with the Committee to conduct the web-based poll of 753 likely Florida voters between Aug. 27-Aug.31, with a 4-point margin of error.
Key findings in the poll include:
73 percent of voters say local school districts should be allowed to implement masks, vs. 25 percent;
52 percent of Florida voters disapprove of DeSantis’ handling of COVID-19, with 40 percent “strongly disapprove” of his performance;
More than 90 percent of Florida voters are concerned about the COVID-19 Delta variant, with 60 percent “very concerned.”
The poll also found that a large majority of voters — by a 24-point margin — found DeSantis’ executive order penalizing public schools for imposing mask mandates, something medical professionals have opposed, a convincing argument not to vote for him. DeSantis is up for re-election in 2022.
Medical professionals across Florida have repeatedly asked DeSantis to take meaningful action to slow the spread of COVID-19. Physicians and health professionals continue to urge him to repeal his order prohibiting local school districts and communities from implementing safety protocols. While DeSantis prevents schools from protecting their students, COVID-19 has killed more and more Florida children, with pediatric deaths doubling since school began in August.
“After refusing to follow the desperate advice and pleading from doctors and health experts, we hope that Gov. DeSantis will now listen to the majority of Floridians and turn his approach to this pandemic around,” said Dr. Mona Mangat, an allergist and immunologist in St. Petersburg and Board Member for the Committee to Protect Health Care. “Like me and the vast majority of medical professionals, Floridians are rightfully concerned that Gov. DeSantis is needlessly putting children’s lives at risk, even after parents and medical professionals have begged him to allow masks in schools. We’ve lost so many children and adults in our state already, but it’s not too late for Gov. DeSantis to do not just what’s right for public health, but what Floridians want, and that’s to allow schools to protect their children and families from COVID-19.”
About the Committee to Protect Health Care
The Committee to Protect Health Care, formerly known as the Committee to Protect Medicare, is a national mobilization of doctors, health care professionals, and advocates who are building a pro-patient health care majority in Congress and in states so that we can live in an America where everyone has the health care they need to thrive. To learn more: www.committeetoprotect.org