A new survey shows a majority of Floridians support vaccine passports for flights, cruises and even dining out at a restaurant. But parents still want a say in whether their school-aged children will wear a mask in school.
That’s according to new data from the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI). While the poll shows strong support for vaccines and vaccine passports, a slight majority of respondents align with Gov. Ron DeSantis on the school masking issue.
When asked whether they “support or oppose allowing parents to decide if their children should wear masks indoors at school,” just over 51% of respondents said they support parents having a say. Nearly 40% opposed, thereby aligning with officials who have pushed for mandatory mask policies. Another 9% of respondents said they were unsure.
The debate over school mask mandates has raged in recent weeks. DeSantis signed an executive order barring local officials from requiring students to wear masks in school. But some localities, such as Alachua and Broward counties, ignored the Governor’s order. That’s prompted pushback from state officials.
With classes set to start next week in Miami-Dade County, officials there are considering a mask mandate as well.
But while individuals believe parents should have the final say, the survey showed adults should be required to show proof of vaccination before entering businesses or traveling on planes and cruise ships.
Clear majorities support vaccine passports for a wide range of public activities. For cruise ships, just under 70% supported proof of vaccination for passengers. For flights, nearly 68%.
Just over 67% said universities should require vaccinations for students. Another 61% supported vaccine mandates for those attending large sports and entertainment events. And 65% said businesses generally should require their employees to get the jab.
When it comes to dining out, just over 53% said customers should be forced to show proof of vaccination. That’s a smaller share than some of the other activities respondents were quizzed about. It’s still a slight majority, though the survey’s margin of error is around 4.4 percentage points, meaning it’s possible that actual sentiment could land just shy of 50%.
While individuals supported parental choice regarding the school mask mandate question, nearly 61% of parents who have a child between the ages of 12 and 18 said their child had gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.
The survey also asked respondents with kids who hadn’t gotten them vaccinated, “Are you planning to get your school-age child (between the ages of 12 and 18 years old) vaccinated?” Nearly 60% said they are not planning to do so, while 39% said they were planning on it.
A significant majority — 85% — of parents with children ages 6-11 said they would get their child vaccinated as soon as it’s approved. Currently, health officials have only approved the COVID-19 vaccines for individuals age 12 and older.
As for the population overall, more than 78% of respondents said they had already been vaccinated. Another 6% said they planned to get the vaccine if able, while 15% said they would not get the vaccine.
Just over 64% of respondents said they were “very concerned” about the delta variant, which has sent cases surging through the state and has overwhelmed hospitals. Another 17% said they were “a little concerned” about the delta variant, while nearly 12% said they were “not that concerned” and 7% said they were “not at all concerned.”
The survey ran from Aug. 12-16 and sampled 183 mobile respondents and 317 landline responses.