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Siena College poll finds New York voters worried about opening state ‘too quickly’ amid COVID-19

Siena College poll finds New York voters worried about opening state ‘too quickly’ amid COVID-19

Poll reveals voters’ attitudes toward Cuomo’s handling of pandemic, thoughts on face masks
Siena College poll finds New York voters worried about opening state ‘too quickly’ amid COVID-19
Social distancing is evident on Beach Drive in Lake George Saturday
Photographer: Peter Barber/Staff Photographer

New York State voters, by a two-to-one margin, see moving “too quickly” to loosen stay-at-home orders as a “bigger danger” than moving “too slowly,” according to a Siena College Poll released Wednesday morning. 

This was one of the many findings of the Siena College Research Institute poll, which asked registered voters for their thoughts on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, what they think of face mask requirements and when they think the State Legislature should return to session. 

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“New Yorkers, including 79% of Democrats, 50% of Republicans and 54% of independents, see a bigger danger for the state in moving too quickly to reopen rather than in moving too slowly. Three-quarters of New York City voters are concerned about moving too quickly to end the stay-at-home orders, as are nearly 60% of upstaters and downstate suburbanites,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg in a press release.

“Clearly, the devastating health consequences of the pandemic are of greater concern to New Yorkers than the devastating economic impacts. Only self-identified conservatives, by a margin of 50-45%, say the bigger danger for the state is in moving too slowly to reopen.”

In terms of what the future holds, according to the poll, 75% of voters think the state may see another COVID-19 outbreak in the fall and 64% think school will likely reopen in the fall. “Asked to look into their crystal balls, voters are closely divided on whether they think large family gatherings without social distancing will be able to happen by July. Nearly two-thirds believe it likely that schools will reopen in September,” Greenberg said.

As for Gov. Cuomo, the poll found that, while strong, his ratings have fallen from last month’s record highs. His favorability rating went from 77-21% to 66-30%, while his job performance rating and rating of his handling of the pandemic have both seen similar drops. “Cuomo’s stratospheric ratings from New Yorkers in April have fallen from their record highs but remain very strong as two-thirds of voters still view him favorably, nearly two-thirds give him a positive job performance rating and more than three-quarters still approve of the job he’s doing to address the pandemic,” Greenberg said.

The poll also found that 38% think the Legislature should resume session, while 55% say there will be time to get back to business once things settle down.

When it comes to face masks, the poll found an “overwhelming support” for wearing them in public -- an 89-9% margin, not much of a drop from last month’s 92-8% margin. Still, more than two-thirds of voters say they’ve encountered someone in the last week not wearing a mask when they should’ve been. 

As for voters’ connections to COVID-19, the poll found 57% of voters knew someone who has tested positive and 37% knew someone who died of the coronavirus. Both of these numbers have risen since last month -- when 51% knew someone who tested positive and 32% knew someone who died. 

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