The gap between Republicans’ and Democrats’ views on the coronavirus is growing, according to a new Gallup survey.
The poll, taken between June 8 and June 14, found that nearly 100% of Democrats polled wore a mask when going outside their home in the last week, compared to 70% of Republicans. That 30-point gap is up from 23 points in early April.
The partisan gap on practicing social distancing also grew much more, from 12 points in mid-March to 40 points in June. Nearly 90% of Democrats said they engaged in social distancing, while fewer than 50% of Republicans said they did.
Gallup blames the widening gap on respondents’ “news diet.” Those who get their news from primarily liberal sources are much more likely to wear a mask or engage in social distancing than those who news comes from largely conservative sources.
Among those who get their news from liberal sources, 92% wore a mask in the last seven days, and 87% said they practiced social distancing. For those who receive news from conservative sources, 54% said they wore a mask, and 39% said they engaged in social distancing. The numbers were 81% and 71%, respectively, for those whose news came from a mix of sources.
“For the past several weeks, commentators have suggested that partisan differences in the ways Americans understand and react to the coronavirus pandemic are part of an ongoing culture war in which serious and nuanced public health debates are reduced to talking points that fit into distinct political identities,” read the Gallup article.
Gallup further wrote that “individuals in a conservative news echo chamber are getting different kinds of information” about the virus. That contributes to “the growing partisan gap” over “coronavirus-related health habits … This relationship dovetails with other findings that show a robust correlation between a conservative news diet and misperceptions over the lethality of the coronavirus.”