HNewsWire: The White House is flying blind on the issue of whether the federal government should force aircraft passengers to wear face masks. But then, so is everyone else.
"Public polling does not really suggest that there is a uniform opinion of individuals getting rid of masks," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters as footage of ecstatic passengers and flight staff discarding their face masks went viral. "That is not what public polling reveals," Psaki continued.
When RealClearPolitics inquired, White House officials refused to specify whose polls they were reading, while emphasizing that the administration bases public health policy on public health, not public opinion polls. However, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain seemed to support one survey: He retweeted an online YouGov poll that found 63 percent of Americans in favor of mandating travel masks.
However, that YouGov survey was conducted on April 18, the same day a federal court in Florida found that health authorities had overstepped their jurisdiction by mandating that every male, woman, and kid over the age of two wear a mask while flying over state borders. And the surveys that have been used in future debates all preceded that judgment. The Associated Press and Morning Consult are two of the most renowned.
According to a study conducted by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 56 percent of Americans support mandating travelers on flights, trains, and public transit to wear masks. Meanwhile, it was discovered that 24% opposed the requirements and 20% were indifferent. The AP survey was conducted from last Thursday to Monday's ruling, so it did not reflect popular sentiment after the requirement was repealed.
According to a Morning Consult/Politico poll, most respondents favored keeping the mandate for travel in place until early May: 59 percent supported it, 33 percent opposed it, and 8 percent had no view. It was, however, carried out the weekend before the decision was reversed.
Journalists have included the two polls in their coverage, duly mentioning when the polls were conducted. However, such stories were swiftly overtaken by viral footage showing ecstatic passengers and flight attendants removing their masks. The pre-decision polling that Psaki mentioned in the briefing room has been surpassed, and there is no turning back, according to noted Republican pollster Frank Luntz.
"There is still a significant, quantifiable dedication to safety among a significant, measurable proportion of the nation," Luntz told RCP. "However, when the masks are off, everything changes." Stuff the mask in a pocket, and "you start to focus about what you disliked about it, rather than why you're wearing it." You consider the disadvantages rather than the benefits."
The Biden administration continues to recommend travelers to wear masks while traveling, and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy wrote a long thread Thursday explaining why he still does. "The bottom lesson is that wearing a mask when traveling is a little action that may go a long way toward safeguarding ourselves and others," Murthy said. Notably, the doctor referred to disguising as "a choice."
Joe Biden felt the same way. On the tarmac in New Hampshire on Tuesday, the president told reporters that whether or not passengers wear masks is "up to them." Meanwhile, his Justice Department stated the same day that it will appeal the ruling, but only at the request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"At this time, it is the CDC's continued view that an order mandating masking in the indoor transit corridor is required for public health," the CDC stated in a statement Wednesday. "CDC thinks this is a legal order that falls well within the CDC's legal power to safeguard public health."
While this is being played out in the courts, public opinion is sure to alter. "I have no doubt that the tone today would be different than it was 72 hours ago," Luntz added, predicting what future polls would show. This is great news for the airlines. Given the gains in immunization rates as well as the many treatments and cures now available, several major airlines, including American, Delta, and Southwest Airlines, pleaded with the government to repeal the requirement.
Luntz proposed that these airlines designate some high-frequency flights, such as those between New York and Washington, D.C., as mask only. According to Luntz, there is a market for such kind of service, although from "a fraction of the population."
A lot of Democrats, particularly those facing difficult elections, have had enough of concealing. This includes Democratic Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried of Florida, who is running against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. She marked the end of the mask requirement with a selfie, which she uploaded on Twitter on Tuesday. Fried then spent the next several hours defending himself from left-wing criticism.
"Peace out to the TSA mask rule, but also peace and respect to others, whether wearing a mask or not," the first tweet said. The second is defensive: "I'll read all of your opinions, but the mandates have been repealed, vaccinations are working, and life is returning to normal, and it's alright for a Democrat to say that - because we made it possible." "I adore you all."
According to White House officials, they would continue to make judgments on the lingering epidemic based on public health facts rather than surveys. Nonetheless, the surveys Psaki and others are reading reflect a snapshot of a period in time that has gone, and the midterm elections are quickly coming.
"If the DOJ is successful," Luntz said, "it will utterly devastate Democrats in the fall, even if there are solid health reasons."
"If you go back now, neither the Justice Department nor the CDC will be penalized." Biden and Democrats will be there. At this point, they should leave well enough alone."
SRH: God Is the Cure the Medical Profession and Our Politicians Are the Disease When the Cure Is Worse Than the Illness, Run… A few weeks ago face masks were said to be useless and even dangerous against COVID-19. Now, people are urged to wear them and some cities are making them mandatory.