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Poll finds NYers OK with phased reopening

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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, 65-32% say they are okay with the phased in reopening of the state. They believe it saves lives that would otherwise be lost to the coronavirus and a quicker reopening could further harm the economy. 

Siena spokesman Steve Greenberg said the shutdown has come with a high cost, though 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 COVID-19 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. But his 66% approval rating is still among the highest during his 9 years in office.

"Overall, the voters are still very happy with Andrew Cuomo," said Greenberg, though he said the governor is down from  the "stratospheric" ratings of last month, when he was at 77-21%.

Greenberg said 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 is even 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 during the outbreak, where many residents 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. Lawmakers are back this week passing COVID-19 related bills. They say it’s all right for the governor to make the major decisions for now, there will be time for the legislature to weigh in later.