Overall, most Americans consistently disapproved of the way Trump handled the pandemic, but the AEI poll found one notable exception — men who identify as “completely masculine.”1 As the table below shows, a majority (52 percent) of men who identified as completely masculine on the survey agreed that the Trump administration has a strategy on COVID-19 — setting them apart from all other men and women. (Compared with other respondents, completely masculine men were also much more evenly split on the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, more likely to believe that wearing a mask was more about being politically correct than about preventing the spread of COVID-19, and more likely to oppose a national mask mandate.)
Of course, the idea that men who identify as more masculine would be more supportive of the president isn’t that much of a shocker considering they have been among his biggest fans from the beginning. According to the AEI survey, that was true this year as well: When broken out by how masculine or feminine they identified themselves, completely masculine men were the only group where the majority (60 percent) said they had voted for Trump. These men may also be more likely to subscribe to a more traditional ideal of masculinity that echoes Trump’s “just shrug it off” attitude toward the pandemic. In fact, research conducted before the election found that these men, or men who fall into a similar category, were less likely to wear masks in the first place or take other precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing. One analysis even found that men who were considered more sexist were more likely to report having contracted the virus.