Siena poll shows strong support for PAUSE until tests prove it’s safe to re-open

Photo by Mike Groll, Office of thr Governor
April 23, 2020 — Albany, NY — The Corning Tower is lit up with “NY Tough” at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. A new Siena poll shows that, by a 69-26 percent margin, voters believe New York can’t reopen until there is widespread testing.

According to a new Siena College Poll of 803 registered New York state voters, people trust Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision on reopening New York over President Donald Trump’s decision, with a margin of 78-16 percent, and Cuomo’s favorability ratings have seen a positive increase amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Cuomo’s favorability rating is 77-21 percent, an increase from last month’s 71-23 percent. This rating is the highest it has been since February 2011. According to the poll, Trump’s handling of the pandemic fell to 34-65 percent, down from 41-56 percent approval last month. 

Cuomo’s executive order to extend PAUSE to May 15 may have led to the increase in his favorability rating among New Yorkers. 

“The governor’s decision to extend New York ‘On Pause’ – keeping schools and non-essential businesses closed – through the middle of May is supported by at least 81 percent of voters from every party, region, gender, race, or religion,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said. 

Greenberg also noted that New Yorkers are showing support for mandatory face coverings. 

“While you cannot find a single issue that would generate unanimous support from all 12 million New York voters, Cuomo’s order that face masks or coverings must be worn in public – when social distancing cannot be maintained – comes as close as any issue Siena College has ever polled. It has support from at least 86 percent of voters from every party, region, gender, race, or religion,” Greenberg said.

The mandatory face protection is no surprise due to the skyrocketing number of COVID-19 cases. In New York alone, there are currently [roughly] 282,000 confirmed cases. The poll results showed that half of New Yorkers know someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and a third know someone who’s died from the virus.

“The human toll is almost unfathomable as 46 percent of New York City voters personally know someone who has died from coronavirus, as do 36 percent of downstate suburbanites and 13 percent of upstaters,” Greenberg said. 

The poll also showed, by a 69-26 percent margin, that voters believe New York can’t reopen until there is widespread testing. The polling split when it came to whether the responsibility is the federal or state government’s. Forty-nine percent of voters said the federal government is responsible for testing and 41 percent say it is the state’s responsibility. Seven percent said it is the responsibility of both the state and federal government.

“About three-quarters of Democrats and independents and half of Republicans say widespread coronavirus testing is needed before New York can begin to reopen, a view held by at least 64 percent of voters from every region,” Greenberg mentioned. “While 55 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of independents say the Federal government has the ultimate responsibility to ensure adequate testing, 57 percent of Republicans say it’s the job of the states.”

Though most New York residents believe in a need for widespread testing, 56 percent of them don’t have confidence that the nation will be normal anytime soon. 

“While 43 percent of voters think ‘things will be back to normal sometime soon,’ down from 53 percent last month, a majority, 56 percent say they’re ‘not confident America will be back to normal anytime soon,’ up from 44 percent last month,” Greenberg said.

This Siena College Poll was conducted from April 19 to 23 and had an overall margin of error of 3.7 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting.