Since the pandemic started, the wearing of masks has, no doubt, been controversial.

One side believes it is solely a public health issue and the wearing of masks should be mandated in order to control the spread of the virus. The other side is concerned about the impact the mandate has on personal freedoms and that governments are infringing upon those rights with a mandate.

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According to the most recent polling of statewide likely voters conducted on behalf of News9 and Newson6, a strong majority, 72.3 percent, approve of the mandating of wearing masks while in public places. One-in-four disapproved of the mandate.

Democrats were much more likely to approve of a mask mandate than Republicans, with 80.5 percent ‘strongly approving’ of a mandate while only 28.7 percent of Republicans ‘strongly approving.’  Among Independents, 59 percent ‘strongly approved.’

What got the overall mandate approval to 72.3 percent was more than half of Republicans, 60.9 percent combined, approved of the mandate. Only 37.4 percent of Republicans disapproved.

“Voters don’t want to close the economy down anymore, or keep kids from schools or people from their jobs,” said Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll.com. “They see the mandate as the public health solution to keep the economy open and going.”

[QUESTION] Do you APPROVE or DISAPPROVE of mandating the wearing of masks while in public places?

1. Strongly approve 50.0%
2. Somewhat approve 22.3
COMBINED APPROVE 72.3
3. Undecided 1.9
4. Somewhat disapprove 9.7
4. Strongly disapprove 16.2
COMBINED DISAPPROVE 25.9

A majority of voters also approve of Governor Stitt’s handling of the pandemic thus far, which has not included a mask mandate at the time the poll was conducted.

“I think people understand that when you’re managing a pandemic there are only degrees of failure and not degrees of success,” Shapard said.  “Voters think he’s done a good job given the circumstances, trying to keep the economy open while doing his best not to infringe on people’s personal freedoms.”

[QUESTION] Do you APPROVE or DISAPPROVE of Governor Kevin Stitt’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic?

1. Strongly approve 23.9%
2. Somewhat approve 30.9
COMBINED APPROVE 54.8
3. Undecided 5.1
4. Somewhat disapprove 18.3
4. Strongly disapprove 21.8
COMBINED DISAPPROVE 40.1

There was no statistical significance in the difference between men and women, but the older the poll respondent, the more they were likely to approve of the mask mandate.  Among those under the age of 34, 36.3 percent strongly approved of a mask mandate, and among those over the age of 65, 58.4 percent strongly approved.

About the Poll

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, conducted the poll of Oklahoma likely voters for a general election.  The poll was commissioned by News9 in Oklahoma City and Newson6 in Tulsa.

The scientific study was conducted September 2-8, 2020 with 486 likely voters selected at random statewide from a tri-frame of SoonerPoll’s own online panel, cell phones and landline telephones. For cell phone and landline telephones, voters are selected at random from SoonerPoll’s voter database and matched with cell and landline phone numbers.  Cell phone participants are collected using live interviewers and landline participants are collected using both live interviewer and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) technology. The sample was weighted by political party, age, gender, and congressional district in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population.

The sample was weighted by age, race, and gender. The weighting was conducted using a ‘layered technique.’  The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ±4.45 percent.

A complete description of the methodology can be found here.  A Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report can be found here. A beta version of the Weighting Table Report can be viewed here.

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Bill is the founder of SoonerPoll.com and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004. Under Bill’s leadership, SoonerPoll has become the leading public opinion polling company in the state of Oklahoma conducting more public opinion polls for Oklahoma news media than all other pollsters combined since 2006. Bill’s commitment to go above and beyond the AAPOR ethical guidelines of minimum disclosure ensures that SoonerPoll produces quality results every time. Bill has lectured at Oklahoma State University on developing polling methodologies, data collection processes, and advanced likely voter sampling techniques. Bill also serves as an on-air political commentator for Oklahoma television stations.

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