Siena Poll: COVID-19 And The Capital Region | WAMC

Siena Poll: COVID-19 And The Capital Region

May 11, 2020

A new Siena College poll shows more New Yorkers than not want to extend “PAUSE” past Friday.

The coronavirus pandemic upended society, invoking fear and dampening the global economy. Many New Yorkers have endured tremendous hardships as a result of the coronavirus, and the Siena College survey indicates people in 11 counties of the Capital Region are deeply concerned about their personal safety. Pollster Don Levy:

"And we find that off reality 49%, feel as though the New York State on Pause restrictions should remain in place beyond the middle of May. 39% say it would be safe in their opinion, to gradually end those restrictions and begin reopening the economy. And then we asked them to look ahead to September, and describe what they believe the workplace would look like, 52% said it would be different, that social distancing will be in place, and an additional 23% said it will be completely different. Three-quarters of New Yorkers feel as though the workplace will be at least somewhat if not completely different back in September."

The survey says only 41% believe the workplace will be back to what it was before the pandemic a year out, and a majority think it will be somewhat or very different. So what do workers need in order to feel safe returning to work? Levy says the numbers are striking:

"75% say that they believe that workers need to be provided with masks. Nearly three quarters, 71% say they will not feel safe until there's a treatment in place, and again, nearly three-quarters say that the workplace needs to be professionally sanitized each and every day in order to make them feel safe. A majority still feels that they really won't feel safe until there's a vaccine. So looking to the future, New Yorkers are telling us that they're starting to lean towards going back outside of the home to go back to work. But the bar for safety is extremely high."

The survey also found that over half of Capital Region residents say they received their stimulus money from the federal government...

"...but on the tough side 44% say that right now they've had difficulty getting needed items including groceries. 26%, a quarter, live in households in which someone has been laid off. Nearly as many, 24%, say they're having trouble meeting their monthly expenses. And 21%, 1 out of 5 Capital Region residents, know someone who's died, has passed away because of COVID-19."

Levy notes 80% of those residents say that when they go out in public they're wearing a mask. 62% say that they are practicing social distancing. 83% think it's at least somewhat likely that schools will reopen in September.

"Yet at the same time, 74%, 32% 'very likely' that we're going to have another outbreak in the fall. Looking to the summer, 75% think there's a good chance that COVID will continue to spread over the summer, yet at the same time, nearly 60% of New Yorkers believe that there's a chance that they will gather with family and friends without the need for social distancing this summer."

Small businesses have taken a huge hit during the shutdown.

"85% think that we will see a gradual reopening of upstate New York businesses that will take place successfully, but at the same time, 75% think that the business place will be completely different. So it's a mix. It's a mix of hopefulness we have, yet at the same time a sense of realism, that by no means has this crisis ended, by no means has it gone away, and New Yorkers tell us it's going to be very difficult for them to feel safe until there's a treatment and a vaccine."
Press Release     Crosstabs
This Special Capital Region COVID-19 Siena College Poll was conducted April 27- May 1, 2020 among 1007 Capital Region residents from the counties of Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington. Respondents (600) were contacted through a dual frame landline and cell phone mode (landline sample from ASDE, cell sample from Dynata) and from a propriety panel (407 respondents, sample from Lucid). Telephone calls were conducted in English and respondent sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest person in the household. Data from both collection modes (phone and web) was merged and statistically adjusted by age, gender, education and income to ensure representativeness. It has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting.