April 16, 2020 – Almost 40 percent of Wyomingites say they or members of their immediate families have been laid off or lost their jobs due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19, an increase from 32 percent two weeks ago, according to a new survey by the University of Wyoming’s Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center (WYSAC).
Additionally, over 60 percent of the state’s residents or members of their immediate families have seen their work hours or pay cut because of the pandemic.
The survey, conducted April 13, is the second of multiple surveys WYSAC is conducting to measure public opinion on a number of topics related to COVID-19. A total of 494 Wyoming residents participated in the survey representing all Wyoming counties, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
“We are happy to have the ability field this research regularly throughout this pandemic,” said Brian Harnisch, senior research scientist in charge of the project at WYSAC. “We hope this information continues to prove useful throughout this period to our state and local government officials, the media and our fellow Wyoming community members as a whole.”
Here are some of this survey’s key findings and comparisons with the results from two weeks ago:
— 39.5 percent of residents say they or members of their immediate families have been laid off or lost their jobs, an increase of 7.7 percentage points in the last two weeks.
— 61.1 percent say they or members of their immediate families have seen their work hours or pay cut, an increase of 4.8 percentage points in the last two weeks.
— 74.3 percent say they are very concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, an increase of 2.9 percentage points.
— 30.6 percent say they are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their personal finances, a decrease of 4.9 percentage points.
— 10.6 percent say they have not changed their daily routines specifically because of COVID-19, holding steady from 10.2 percent two weeks ago. Some 35.2 percent have changed their daily routine a little, while 54.2 percent said they have changed it a lot.
— 51.8 percent of residents say they are now declining visits from friends and family, an increase of 4.4 percentage points.
— 71.5 percent of residents say they are eating out less, which represents a decrease of 4 percentage points from two weeks ago.
— Nearly half (45.5 percent) of residents say they now wear personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, when in public places.
— Over 77 percent say they are avoiding physical contact with others, spending more time at home and not attending public gatherings — representing the top three changes people have made to their behaviors in response to COVID-19.
— 24.1 percent say that the worst is behind us in the United States, an increase of 16.9 percentage points. Some 44.1 percent say the worst is yet to come, a decrease from 66.6 percent from two weeks ago.
Regarding policies enacted to slow the spread of the virus, support remains high for the closure of K-12 schools, with 84.4 percent support (-.9 percentage points); closure of day care centers, with 78.2 percent support (-2.7 percentage points); and limiting public gatherings, with 82.2 percent support (-6.3 percentage points). Support for a “shelter-in-place” order decreased from 54.4 percent two weeks ago to 47.8 percent (-6.6 percentage points).
If a vaccine becomes available, 76.4 percent say they will likely get the vaccine — a decrease of 3.8 percentage points from two weeks ago. Alternatively, 14.6 percent say they are very unlikely to get the vaccine — an increase of 4.3 percentage points.
The survey also asked for perspectives on the way local, state and national leaders are handling the virus response. Results from those questions include:
— 62.0 percent approve and 35.8 disapprove of the way President Donald Trump is handling COVID-19 — representing a net approval of +26.1 points, a decrease of 1.9 points from two weeks ago. Some 57.6 percent say they trust what they hear about the virus from him, an increase of 1.9 percentage points.
— 76.1 percent approve and 20.8 disapprove of the way Gov. Mark Gordon is handling COVID-19 — representing a net approval rating of +55.3 points, a decrease of 12.6 points from two weeks ago. Some 84.1 percent say they trust what they hear about the virus from him, a decrease of 2.7 percentage points.
— 41.9 percent approve and 49.5 percent disapprove of the way Congress is handling COVID-19 — representing a net approval rating of -7.6 points, a decrease of 2.2 points from two weeks ago.
— 77.4 percent approve and 18.6 percent disapprove of the way their local government and health officials are handling COVID-19 — representing a net approval rating of +58.8, a decrease of 3.7 percentage points from two weeks ago. Some 83.2 percent say they trust what they hear about the virus from them, a decrease of 2.6 percentage points.
This survey also asked how much people trust the information they hear about COVID-19 from the national news media, with 41.5 percent saying they trust what they hear a great deal or a good amount. Some 58.5 percent say they trust what they hear not very much or not at all.
Asked about how much they trust what they hear about COVID-19 from their local news media, 66.6 percent said they trust what they hear a great deal or a good amount, while 33.4 percent say they trust what they hear not very much or not at all.
Finally, asked if they think COVID-19 is a real threat or blown out of proportion, 61.0 percent say it is a real threat a 2.1 percentage point decrease; 28.8 percent say its blown out of proportion, a 4.6 percentage point increase; and 10.2 percent are unsure, a 1.8 percentage point decrease.
To see the survey methodology, questions, and complete presentation of results, download the report here.