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Poll finds most New Yorkers are OK with phased reopening

Darren McGee
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo rings the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday morning. The floor of the NYSE had been closed to traders since March 23.

A new poll finds most New Yorkers are comfortable with the pace of the reopening of the economy, even though many are taking a financial hit due to the shutdown.


The Siena College poll finds nearly two-thirds of voters, 65%, say they are OK with the phased reopening of the state. They believe it saves lives that would otherwise be lost to the novel coronavirus and a quicker reopening could further harm the economy.  


Siena spokesman Steve Greenberg said the shutdown has come with a high cost to individual New Yorkers.


“A third of voters in this state, either themselves or someone in their household has been laid off,” Greenberg said, via Skype. “That’s a big number."


And New Yorkers are bracing for more — three quarters believe there will be a second wave of a COVID-19 outbreak later this year. But two-thirds are hopeful that schools will reopen in the fall.


The poll finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s popularity has slipped a bit since an all-time high last month of 77%. But his current 66% approval rating is still among the highest during his nine years in office.


“Overall, the voters are still very happy with Andrew Cuomo,” Greenberg said.


Greenberg says 81% of New Yorkers believe the governor has done a good job communicating the scope of the pandemic, and implementing the right plans. The governor even is viewed favorably in his handling of distributing unemployment insurance benefits, despite some glitches with the overwhelmed state system. 


But Cuomo is viewed more unfavorably in his handling of nursing homes, where more than 6,000 residents have died of the virus.


The poll also found that the public is not concerned over the state legislature’s nearly two-month absence during the height of the outbreak. They say it’s alright for the governor to make the major decisions for now, there will be time for the legislature to weigh in later.


Lawmakers are back this week passing COVID-19 related bills.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.
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