USF survey finds most Floridians support statewide mask mandate, keeping schools closed

People wearing masks while walking on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Johnny Louis/Getty Images)

A majority of Floridians say they would support a statewide mask mandate, according to a new survey from the University of South Florida.

USF's School of Public Affairs conducted the statewide survey to determine residents' opinions on Florida's emergency preparedness and the state's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers said 87% of those surveyed would support a statewide mandate on face coverings, with 73% saying they'd "strongly support" such a measure.

They also noted strong support for closing public schools in the fall, saying 73% of respondents are in favor of keeping school campuses closed.

In general, the study said Floridians are still concerned about the pandemic, with a majority of residents (55%) believing the worst is not yet behind us.

About 46% felt that political candidates should not hold any rallies in Florida leading up to the election; 42% felt the rallies could be held, but only if proper social distancing guidelines are followed.

USF's study noted that majorities of both Republicans and Democrats were in favor of efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, though some partisan differences exist.

Previous: Poll finds 3 in 4 Americans support face mask requirements

"Republicans are more likely to believe that the worst is behind us with regard to COVID-19 and slightly less likely to believe that public health guidance is effective at limiting the spread of the virus," researchers said. "Democrats are more supportive of a statewide mask mandate, closing public schools, and placing stricter limits on public gatherings, though majorities in both parties support each measure."

Researchers surveyed 600 Floridians from across the state from July 30 through August 10 for their data.

The findings are in line with previous surveys. A late July survey from Quinnipiac University found 79% of Floridians would support a statewide face-covering order, while a separate poll said 3 in 4 Americans would support a mask mandate.

To read the full results of the USF survey, click here.