Is It Still a Mandate If We Don’t Enforce It?: The Politics of COVID-Related Mask Mandates in Conservative States
Questions of whether to enforce COVID-related mask mandates are complex. While enforced mandates are more effective at controlling community spread, government imposed behavioral controls have met significant opposition in conservative states, where a political bloc on the right is skeptical that COVID presents a significant and immediate threat. The authors conduct a split sample survey in order to examine how inclusion of a fine provision attached to mask mandates affects support. The survey was conducted in Idaho (a Republican dominated state) at a time when a mask mandate was a central debate. Unsurprisingly, respondents were more supportive of a mask mandate if a fine was not included. Further investigation indicates this is primarily a result of shifting Republican attitudes, which highlights the complex political situation in conservative states as leaders consider best mechanisms for battling COVID.
Lyons, Jeffrey and Fowler, Luke. (2021). "Is It Still a Mandate If We Don’t Enforce It?: The Politics of COVID-Related Mask Mandates in Conservative States". State and Local Government Review, 53(2), 106-121. https://doi.org/10.1177/0160323X211035677