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Published April 30, 2020
A majority of those who have lost their jobs or seen their hours or pay reduced as a result of the COVID-19 crisis are optimistic that those jobs will return, according to a new survey by the University of Wyoming’s Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center (WYSAC).
Of the roughly one-third of Wyomingites who say they or someone in their immediate family has lost their jobs, 64 percent say it’s likely those jobs or employment will return. Of the over half of Wyomingites who say they or someone in their immediate family has seen reductions in hours or pay, 73 percent are optimistic those hours or wages will be restored.
The survey, conducted Monday, April 27, is the third of multiple surveys WYSAC is conducting to measure public opinion on a number of topics related to COVID-19. A total of 496 Wyoming residents participated in the survey representing all Wyoming counties, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
“While most Wyoming residents continue to take the situation seriously, fewer residents are reporting that they are taking preventative measures,” says Brian Harnisch, senior research scientist in charge of the project at WYSAC. “While we do see an increase to nearly half of residents saying they now wear personal protective items in public places, we also see a decline in the number of people avoiding physical contact or turning down visits from friends or family, for example.”
Here are some of this survey’s key findings:
-- Of those who report that they or someone in their family has been laid off or lost their jobs (35 percent), 64 percent say it is likely that those jobs or employment will return. Twenty percent say it is unlikely, while 17 percent are unsure if the jobs will return.
-- Of those who report that they or someone in their family has seen work hours or pay reduced (57 percent), 73 percent say it is likely that these hours or pay will be restored. Fifteen percent say it is unlikely, while 12 percent are unsure if these hours or pay will be restored.
-- Approval of the way Gov. Mark Gordon is handling the COVID-19 crisis remains high, with 75 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 54 percentage points.
-- Approval of the way President Donald Trump is handling the COVID-19 crisis decreased slightly, with 59 percent saying they strongly approve or somewhat approve of the way he is handling things. Trump’s net approval rating decreased by 5.6 percentage points to plus 20.5 percentage points.
-- Approval of the way local government and health officials are handling the COVID-19 crisis remains high, with 77 percent saying they strongly approve or somewhat approve of the way they are handling things. The net approval remains high for this group at plus 59 percentage points.
-- Concern about the impact of COVID-19 on the economy continues to increase, with 76 percent saying they are very concerned.
Meanwhile, support for major policies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 continues to decline:
-- 76 percent say they support the closure of K-12 schools, a decrease of 8 percentage points.
-- 67 percent say they support the closure of day care centers, a decrease of 11 percentage points.
-- 64 percent say they support the closure of restaurants and bars, a decrease of 12 percentage points.
-- 74 percent say they support the limiting of public gatherings, a decrease of 8 percentage points.
-- 44 percent say they support a “shelter-in-place” order, a decrease of 4 percentage points.
Fewer Wyomingites say they are following the news about COVID-19 very closely: 43 percent say this is the case, a decrease of 6 percentage points from two weeks ago and a decrease of 14 points from a month ago.
More Wyoming residents say they believe the worst is behind us (20 percent) than did two weeks ago (14 percent). Some 37 percent of residents say the worst is yet to come, a decrease of 10 points from two weeks ago.
While the number of people in Wyoming who say they have not changed their daily routine because of COVID-19 remains steady (12.5 percent), there has been an observable shift from those who say they have changed it a lot to those who say they have changed it a little:
-- Nearly 48 percent of residents say they have changed their routine a lot, a decrease of nearly 7 points from two weeks ago. Alternatively, nearly 40 percent say they have changed their routine a little -- an increase of nearly 5 points.
-- 71 percent of residents say they are avoiding physical contact with others, a decrease of 8 percentage points from two weeks ago.
-- 46 percent say they are avoiding houses of worship, and 47 percent say they are declining visits from friends and family -- a decrease of roughly 5 points for each from two weeks ago.
-- Fewer people say they are spending more time at home in response to the COVID-19 crisis (73 percent) than said they were two weeks ago (78 percent).
-- More people report that they are wearing personal protective items in public spaces than said so two weeks ago, with almost half (49 percent) saying they now do this -- an increase of 4 percentage points.
Fewer Wyoming residents feel COVID-19 is a real threat that did two weeks ago, with 54 percent saying so now -- a decrease of 7 points from two weeks ago. Alternatively, 36 percent say it is blown out of proportion -- an increase of 7 points.
There is a trend of an increasing proportion of people who say they are very unlikely to get a vaccine for COVID-19 if one becomes available, with 19 percent saying they are very unlikely to now. Two weeks ago, 15 percent said they were very unlikely, while a month ago 10 percent said this.
Significantly fewer residents say they have had problems in the last two weeks buying the groceries and/or household items they need. Some 62 percent say they have experienced problems buying groceries or other food items, a decrease of 15 points from two weeks ago. Some 49 percent say they have experienced difficulty purchasing household items, a decrease of 18 points from two weeks ago.
To see the survey methodology, chart, figures and complete survey results, go to https://wysac.uwyo.edu/wysac/.