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Delawareans support mask wearing and transgender rights, UD study finds

A study funded by the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication asked about the issues and opinions on state elected officials.

78% of Delawareans are pro-mask. (Photo by Pexels user Polina Tankilevitch, used under a Creative Commons license)
How do Delawareans feel about the big issues of the moment?

A recent study involving interviews with a representative sample of 976 adults living in Delaware, including 911 registered voters, shows support for mask wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic and laws protecting transgender students from discrimination — as well as confidence in the state government and federal congresspeople.

The research, conducted by the The National Agenda Opinion Project, was funded by the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication (CPC) with support from the College of Arts and Sciences and was supervised by professor and CPC Research Director Paul Brewer. It took place between Sept. 21 and 27.

Interviews were conducted by cell phone and landline, using both random digit dialing frames and a list of Delaware registered voters. A total of 327 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone and 649 were interviewed on a cell phone. The margin of sampling error for registered voters is ± four percentage points.

On the issue of laws protecting transgender students from discrimination in schools, there was a 7% drop in opposition, down from 18% in 2018 to 11% in 2020; 81% in the study support the laws, up 6% from 75% in 2018.

On the issue of wearing masks in public for COVID-19 health and safety (which was not part of previous interviews, for obvious reasons), 78% support wearing masks in public, with 70% saying they always wear a mask in public and 15% saying the very often wear a mask in public; 19% oppose wearing a mask, with 3% giving no answer.

Respondents were also asked about concerns over the 2020 general election: 60% are very or somewhat concerned about voter fraud, 64% are very or somewhat concerned about the election being rigged, and 68% are very or somewhat concerned about eligible voters not being able to vote in the election.

2020 data

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When it comes to Delaware’s elected officials, the study found that Gov. John Carney (D) and Delaware’s U.S. Congresspeople — U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D), U.S. Rep Lisa Blunt Rochester (D) and U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D) — are all viewed favorably by the majority, with Carney having a 63% positive rating, Coons 58%, Carper 54% and Blunt Rochester at 53%.

Delaware Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long and Attorney General Kathy Jennings came in with less than 50% favorable responses, at 40% and 37% respectively, but they were also less familiar to respondents, with nearly half (48% and 49%) saying they never heard of them or didn’t know enough about them to rate.

2020 study -- officials

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Looking at the previous year data, Delaware’s U.S. Congresspeople have become slightly more popular since 2018, with the exception of Carper, who went from 27% very favorable in 2018 to 17% in 2020 (and also going from 10% to 21% in the never heard of/can’t rate category).

2020 study officials

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Carney’s very favorable percentage climbed to 26% from 20% in 2018 (a big increase from his early years as governor in 2013 and 2014, where it was just 11%), but his very unfavorable percentage also went up by nearly the same rate, from 10% to 15%.

Hall-Long’s numbers are virtually unchanged from 2018, except that 5% more respondents are unfamiliar with her.

Jennings, who has gotten national attention for her proposed prison reform, may be unfamiliar to half of the respondents, but of those who do know who she is, only 14% saw her in a mostly or very unfavorable light.

2020 study governor

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What does this year’s study say about the Delaware electorate? Mainly that is hasn’t changed dramatically due to COVID-19 and the general political chaos of the last four years, is a squarely Democrat state with state leadership the majority have confidence in — and that will almost definitely be reflected in the 2020 general election. (That said: Vote.)

Companies: University of Delaware

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