Gadarian speaks to Associated Press about mask mandates

Shana Gadarian 2021Iowa is among at least eight Republican-led states that have limited the ability of school boards to impose mask mandates. More recently, arguments about masks heated up after federal Judge Robert Pratt blocked enforcement of the mask mandate ban, leading several school boards to require masks in their schools. 

Shana Gadarian, professor and chair of political science, has been studying the national response to COVID-19 and through surveys found a partisan gap over issues like mask use early on in the pandemic. Gadarian says it’s important to weigh the motivation of politicians questioning public health measures proven to slow virus spread.

"Politicians are trying to win reelection. They’re trying to keep their approval ratings up," she says. "They’re trying to help the party and politicians, particularly Republican politicians, have made a bet that the base of the Republican Party is now one that doesn’t want mask mandates and pushes against what they perceive as government overreach." Read more in the Associated Press article, "Iowa focuses on masks as coronavirus deaths rise." 09/23/21