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Siena Poll: Majority of New Yorkers believe worst of coronavirus is still to come

Siena Poll: Majority of New Yorkers believe worst of coronavirus is still to come

State residents want government to contain virus, even if doing so hurts economy
Siena Poll: Majority of New Yorkers believe worst of coronavirus is still to come
Masked lawn jockeys outside the closed-to-fans Saratoga Race Course Monday
Photographer: Erica Miller/Staff Photographer

LOUDONVILLE -- The majority of New Yorkers not only believe that the state hasn't seen the worst of the coronavirus pandemic yet, but that systemic racism is also a problem in the state, according to the latest Siena College Research Institute poll findings released Monday.

While 27% of those polled believe that the worst is over for New Yorkers, the college’s statewide survey found that 62% believe the worst has yet to come. The poll also looked into whether New Yorkers want the government to prioritize containing the spread even if it hurts the economy and whether they think systemic racism is a serious problem in the state.

“Majorities of every demographic, except Republicans, think that we haven’t seen the worst of the pandemic, and majorities of every demographic want the government to concentrate on containing the virus even if the economy suffers,” Siena College Research Institute Director Don Levy said. “Nearly 80 percent are concerned that they, or another member of their household, will get sick with COVID-19.”

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The majority of residents, 70%, hope the government continues to contain the spread even if it hurts the economy, while 22% believe otherwise. A majority, 82%, think it is either very or somewhat likely that another large COVID-19 outbreak will appear in the fall. 

As for schools, 18% of New Yorkers think it is very likely schools will reopen by September, while 46% say it is somewhat likely. 

The poll also looked into residents’ views on systemic racism. It found 81% of New Yorkers think systemic racism is either a very or somewhat serious problem in the state. One-third of residents and 71% of Black people in New York say they often witness or hear people being discriminated against because of their race or ethnicity. 

“New Yorkers agree, systemic racism is a problem,” Levy said. “Dramatic majorities of every demographic by party, age, race and region think systemic racism is at least a somewhat serious if not a very serious problem. And while 36 percent describe themselves as ‘not racist’, 53% prefer to say that they are ‘anti-rascist.’”

With the state reopening, the majority of New Yorkers -- between 56% and 64% -- say they are either very or somewhat comfortable with eating at a restaurant’s outdoor area, playing sports like golf, going to a barbershop, going to a beach or taking a trip to the playground. Sixty-five percent are still not comfortable eating in an indoor area of a restaurant.

The poll was conducted between June 28 and July 2 and between July 6-8 with random telephone calls to 410 New York adults and 401 responses drawn from a proprietary panel of New Yorkers. SCRI reports the data at a 95% confidence level with a margin of error of 3.7 points.

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