Photograph by Graeme Sloan, Bloomberg/Getty Images
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President Donald Trump wears a protective face mask as he is driven in a motorcade outside of Walter Reed National Military Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Sunday. Trump announced early Friday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized over the weekend. His public position on mask-wearing has changed over the past months, as has his supporters’ mask-wearing behavior.

Photograph by Graeme Sloan, Bloomberg/Getty Images

Poll finds more Americans than ever think we should wear masks

A new National Geographic survey found that most Americans, regardless of their backgrounds and political beliefs, have changed their minds about mask-wearing.

American attitudes and their usage of masks have shifted broadly as President Trump has been hospitalized for COVID-19, a National Geographic and Morning Consult poll taken over the weekend has found.

More than 6 in 10 Americans questioned say they are more favorable toward people wearing a mask, and there have been steady increases in mask usage among people of all ages, demographic groups, and political leanings since a similar poll in July.

Despite noisy no-mask protests, 92 percent of 2,200 Americans polled say they wear a face mask when leaving their home, with 74 percent saying they “always” do. That “always” percentage is up nearly a quarter since July, according to the poll, which has a 2 percent margin of error.

Public health officials call a mask an effective way to curtail airborne transmission of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 210,000 Americans since February and sickened more than 7.4 million. Forty-four states require mask usage in certain situations. (New algorithms can detect whether people are complying with these mask requirements.)

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the poll results:

How often do you wear a medical or non-medical face mask when you leave your home?



Rarely or never

Poll conducted in

October 2020

July 2020


Adults (n = 2,200)


Male (990)

Female (1,210)


18-34 (652)

35-44 (396)

45-64 (705)

65+ (447)


GenZers: 1997-2012 (195)

Millennials: 1981-1996 (690)

GenXers: 1965-1980 (568)

Baby Boomers: 1946-1964 (657)

Political affiliation

Democrats (848)

Democratic men (381)

Democratic women (467)

Independents (625)

Independent men (260)

Independent women (365)

Republicans (727)

Republican men (349)

Republican women (378)

Political viewpoint

Liberal (699)

Moderate (673)

Conservative (672)


Less than college (1,111)

Bachelor's degree (568)

Post-grad (521)


Under 50k (984)

50k-100k (700)

100k+ (516)


White (1,804)

Hispanic (190)

Black (205)

Other (191)


All Christian (1,179)

All non-Christian (166)

Atheist (97)

Agnostic / Nothing in particular (452)

Something else (306)

Religious non-Protestant / Catholic (185)

Evangelical (683)

Non-Evangelical (755)


Urban (740)

Suburban (929)

Rural (531)


Private sector (819)

Government (163)

Self-employed (169)

Homemaker (156)

Retired (470)

Unemployed (214)

Other (110)

Someone in the household serving in the military

Yes (336)

No (1,864)

Things in the country are going in the right direction or they have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track

Right direction (764)

Wrong track (1,436)

Approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as President

Strongly approve (548)

Somewhat approve (410)

Somewhat disapprove (275)

Strongly disapprove (904)

Opinion of Trump

Very favorable (605)

Somewhat favorable (369)

Somewhat unfavorable (212)

Very unfavorable (948)

The top set of issues on your mind when you cast your vote for federal offices

Economy (795)

Security (245)

Health care (414)

Medicare / Social Security (287)

Women's issues (125)

Education (108)

Energy (103)

Other (123)

Voted for this candidate in the 2018 election for U.S. House

Democratic U.S. House candidate (785)

Republican U.S. House candidate (693)

Someone else (48)

Vote for this candidate in the 2016 election for President

Hillary Clinton (750)

Donald Trump (756)

Other (94)

Didn't Vote (596)

Voted in the 2014 election

Yes (1,333)

No (867)

Vote for this candidate in the 2012 election for President

Barack Obama (912)

Mitt Romney (506)

Other (53)

Didn't vote (726)


Northeast (539)

Midwest (416)

South (804)

West (441)

Source: Morning Consult