Masks Become Political as COVID-19 Cases Surge

According to health experts, masks can help to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 when worn by both infected individuals and seemingly healthy people. Early in the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that those without symptoms did not have to wear masks, but the agency shifted its position in early April recommending that masks be worn by all people in public spaces. Today, masks sit at the center of political debate – serving as an obvious means to slow the spread of virus for some Americans, while symbolizing an infringement of personal freedom for others. 

With masks becoming more politicized and a surge of cases in states like Florida, Texas, and California prompting authorities to issue new guidance on face coverings, we asked our audience how often they wear a mask while outside. For a deeper look at mask-wearing habits, we also compared insights across genders, generations, and regions. Finally, in anticipation of an upcoming holiday weekend typically marked by large outdoor gatherings, we asked Americans how they plan to celebrate the 4th of July in light of social distancing guidelines.

June 25, 2020

A map of the US showing which states are increasing or decreasing cases of Covid-19

How often do you wear a mask outside?

55% of Americans claim to always wear a mask outside, compared to 14% who say they never do so.

Circle graph comparing how often Americans claim to wear a mask outside

Regional Divides

Americans are least likely to wear a mask in regions such as the South and West where cases are currently on the rise. Americans in the Northeast, the former epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., are the most likely to always wear a mask outside (70%).

Bar graph comparing how often Americans claim to wear a mask by region

Generational Divides

Baby boomers are the most likely to always wear a mask outside (60%) while millennials are least likely to do so (49%).

Bar graph comparing how often Americans claim to wear a mask by generation

Gender Divides

Women are 16% more likely than men to always wear a mask outside.

Bar graph comparing how likely women vs men are to wear masks outside

Political Divides

Compared to Republicans and Independents, Democrats are most likely to always wear a mask while outside.

Circle graph comparing how likely Americans are to wear masks outside based on their political party

What are you doing to celebrate the 4th of July?

A majority of Americans are staying local or going to a BBQ to celebrate the 4th of July.

52% of Americans plan on staying local on July 4th
33% of Americans plan on hosting or going to a BBQ for July 4th
6% of Americans plan on going to the beach on July 4th
5% of Americans plan on traveling on July 4th
4% of Americans plan on going to the lake on July 4th

Compared to their younger counterparts, baby boomers and The Silent Generation are more likely to stay local this 4th of July. Gen Zers are the most likely to travel or head to the beach to celebrate the holiday weekend. Across generations, Americans are least likely to spend July 4th by the lake.

Bar graph comparing how each generation plans on celebrating the 4th of July
  • Americans who are staying local or attending a BBQ this July 4th weekend are also the most likely to always wear a mask outside.
  • Those traveling to a lake or beach are the least likely to always wear a mask outside.
Bar graph comparing how likely Americans are to wear masks vs how they plan to celebrate July 4th

How many friends or family members do you plan to celebrate the 4th of July with?

Compared to other generations, Gen Zers most likely to celebrate in large groups. They are the only generation in which the percentage of those planning to celebrate with 6 – 10 people is nearly equal to those planning to celebrate with more than 10.

Bar graph comparing how many people Americans are celebrating July 4th with by generation
  • Americans planning to celebrate with more than 10 people are the least likely to wear a mask outside.
  • Only 10% of people planning to celebrate with 1 – 5 people never wear a mask outside.
Bar graph comparing how likely Americans are to wear masks outside vs how many people they are celebrating July 4th with

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FAQs

How is this data collected?

‘Fluent Pulse’ reflects a daily online survey collected across Fluent’s portfolio of owned & operated websites.

Who is the audience?

Fluent attracts a massive audience across its network of owned media properties. While all segments of the US population are represented, the below are our most prevalent demographic skews:

Demographic Attribute Over Penetrated Among
Age Median: 38

61% between the age of 18 & 44

Gender 50/50 Male/Female
Education High School Degree or Some College
Homeownership 61% Renters
Households with Children 42% of Audience

How many people were surveyed?

On average, 150,000 – 175,000 consumers respond daily.

Is the data weighted?

No, but representative of the overall Fluent Audience.

How do you protect consumers data privacy?

All responses related to this survey are anonymized; only survey responses will be disclosed. At no point will consumer’s personal information will ever be disclosed.

What was your methodology?

Data was collected from US adults between March 10 & April 26, 2020 via Fluent’s portfolio of owned and operated media properties. Results are specific to the Fluent audience, and not reflective of the general US population.

The data presented on this site does not reflect the official opinion, policy or position of Fluent, Inc. This research is only meant to inform and illustrate, as an example, the rich data assets Fluent can derive insights from to drive in-market strategies.