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UW Survey: Support for Policies to Slow Spread of COVID-19 Continues to Decline

May 14, 2020

While a majority of Wyomingites support most policies designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Wyoming, support for all policies continues to decline, according to a new survey by the University of Wyoming’s Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center (WYSAC).

Over two-thirds (70 percent) of Wyoming residents say they support the closure of K-12 schools, down from 85 percent at the end of March. Some 59 percent support the closure of bars and restaurants, down from 82 percent in March. And 39 percent of Wyomingites say they support a “shelter-in-place” order, down from 44 percent two weeks ago and 54 percent at the end of March.

“While we do see majority support for all policies other than a shelter-in-place order, support for all policies has declined steadily since we started collecting data in March,” says Brian Harnisch, senior research scientist in charge of the project at WYSAC. “Additionally, the only preventative measure that Wyomingites say they are taking that increased from two weeks ago is the use of PPE, such as masks and gloves, while nearly all other types of preventative behaviors showed a decrease from the last iteration.”

The survey, conducted Monday, May 11, is the fourth of multiple surveys WYSAC is conducting to measure public opinion on a number of topics related to COVID-19. A total of 473 Wyoming residents participated in the survey representing all Wyoming counties, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Here are the numbers regarding major policies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, compared to two weeks ago:

-- 70 percent say they support the closure of K-12 schools, a decrease of 6 percentage points.

-- 62 percent say they support the closure of day care centers, a decrease of 5 percentage points.

-- 59 percent say they support the closure of restaurants and bars, a decrease of 5 percentage points.

-- 67 percent say they support the limiting of public gatherings, a decrease of 7 percentage points.

-- 39 percent say they support a “shelter-in-place” order, a decrease of 5 percentage points.

Here are some of the new survey’s other key findings:

-- The number of people in Wyoming who say they are not changing their daily routine due to COVID-19 has increased 3 percentage points from two weeks ago to 15 percent. The number of people who say they have changed their daily routine a lot has decreased 5 percentage points to 43 percent, while 42 percent say they have changed their routine a little.

-- A majority of Wyoming residents (51 percent) now say they wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks or gloves in public spaces, representing the only increase in precautions taken by Wyoming residents to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

-- Large decreases occurred for those reporting that they are declining visits from friends and family (39 percent, a decrease of 7 points), and for avoiding houses of worship (39 percent, a decrease of 7 points).

-- Fewer people report that they are not attending public gatherings (70 percent, a decrease of 5 points), eating out less (67 percent, a decrease of 4 points) and spending more time at home (69 percent, a decrease of 4 points).

-- Approval of the way Gov. Mark Gordon is handling the COVID-19 crisis remains high, with 74 percent saying they strongly approve or somewhat approve of the way he is handling things. Gordon’s net approval rating (approval minus disapproval) remains high at plus 50 percentage points.

-- Approval of the way President Donald Trump is handling the COVID-19 crisis decreased slightly again, with 57 percent saying they strongly approve or somewhat approve of the way he is handling things. President Trump’s net approval rating decreased by 3.7 percentage points to plus 17 points.

-- Regarding the way local government and health officials are handling the COVID-19 crisis, 70 percent say they strongly approve or somewhat approve of the way they are handling things -- reflecting a 7 percentage point decrease from two weeks ago. The net approval for this group is at plus 46 percentage points, a decrease of 13 points from two weeks ago.

-- Approval of the way Congress is handling the COVID-19 crisis decreased 7 percentage points, with 35 percent saying they strongly approve or somewhat approve of the way Congress is handling things. The net approval rating for Congress is minus 12 percentage points.

-- Over a third (35 percent) of Wyoming residents say they are very anxious or fairly anxious about the spread of COVID-19 in Wyoming. Another 33 percent say they are somewhat anxious, while 32 percent say they are not at all anxious.

-- Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of Wyoming residents say that COVID-19 is not likely to be a major problem in Wyoming, while 22 percent say the worst is behind us. Some 39 percent of residents say that the worst is yet to come.

-- While the proportion of Wyoming residents who think COVID-19 is a real threat remained steady at 54 percent, the number who say it is blown out of proportion increased 4 points to 40 percent, while those who are unsure decreased 4 points to 6 percent.

-- More Wyoming residents report that they are very unlikely to get a vaccine for COVID-19 if one becomes available, with 23 percent saying this is the case, an increase of 4 points. Additionally, 12 percent say it is somewhat unlikely, an increase of 4 points. Nearly half (49 percent) say they are very likely to get a vaccine, while 17 percent say they are somewhat likely.

To see the survey methodology, chart, figures and complete survey results, go to https://wysac.uwyo.edu/wysac/.

Contact Us

Institutional Communications

Bureau of Mines Building, Room 137

Laramie

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-2929

Email: cbaldwin@uwyo.edu

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