Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont speaks during a press conference at a Red Cross blood drive at the Connecticut Police Academy in Meriden. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz were also in attendance. The purpose of their visit was to encourage residents who are healthy to donate blood.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has high approval ratings, especially for his handling of coronavirus pandemic, in the latest Quinnipiac poll.

As Connecticut, New York and New Jersey — the nation’s hardest hit states in the coronavirus pandemic — consider when and how they should loosen restrictions, a Quinnipiac University poll finds majorities in all three states support those restrictions right now.

In a poll of 2,800 registered voters,  a majority of respondents – 59 percent in Connecticut, 58 percent in New York and 55 percent in New Jersey — said it will take a least a few months before their states are safe to begin to lift their stay-at-home orders and to reopen their economies.

The poll, released Wednesday, also showed that the popularity of the governors in the tri-state region has risen during the crisis.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont received a 65-26 percent job approval rating, and a 78-17 approval rating for the handling of the virus in specific.  By comparison, President Donald Trump received a 36-61 approval rating in Connecticut for his response to the pandemic.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo received a  72 – 24 percent job approval rating, and an whopping 81 – 17 percent approval rating for his handling of the response to the coronavirus. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy received a 68 – 23 percent job approval rating, and a 78 – 18 percent approval rating for his handling of the coronavirus.

“A crisis rockets governors to approval ratings rarely seen. In the Tri-State area, the public leans on their leaders and the gratitude shows,” said Quinnipiac University Polling analyst Tim Malloy.

The poll’s respondents said that even if restrictions were lifted in the next few weeks, roughly 7 out of 10 people in each state would be uncomfortable going to restaurants or bars, more than 8 out of 10 wouldn’t be comfortable going to a large sports or entertainment event.

There’s a split between respondents in each state about returning to work outside the home.

The poll also showed 71 percent of the respondents in the tri-state area, a clear consensus , believe  states should be prioritizing slowing the spread of the coronavirus by keeping people home, even if it hurts the economy. Only about a quarter of those polled in each state think reopening the economy should be the top priority.

A majority (NY 75 – 20 percent, NJ 74 – 20 percent, CT 76 – 19 percent) also think that there should be more testing in their state in order to begin to lift stay-at-home orders.

“Cautious but not cowering. Having experienced a nightmare, the 32 million people who make up the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut Tri-State area are willing to hang tough and wait out the virus for another few months,” Malloy said.

The poll also found that, in Connecticut, 61 percent of the respondents  know someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, 33 percent know someone who has been hospitalized, and 22 percent know someone who has died.

It also found that 65 percent of Connecticut voters polled are very or somewhat worried that they will be infected and get seriously ill, while 78 percent are very or somewhat worried that someone in their family will be infected and get seriously ill.

Financial impact

Roughly half of each state say that the coronavirus crisis has caused them financial hardship (NY 48 percent, NJ 51 percent, CT 46 percent), while about one third say they have lost their job or a substantial portion of their household income.

The poll also determined that 35 percent of respondents in Connecticut are concerned about their household being able to pay their bills in the next month and more than one-in-four, 26 percent, are very or somewhat concerned about having enough food to eat.

The poll found that respondents in New Jersey were the most optimistic that their state will be back to normal a year from now, 53 – 40 percent. New Yorkers were split 47 – 47 percent, and Connecticut respondents were the most pessimistic  Forty six percent of those polled in Connecticut said the state would be back to normal in a year, while 51 percenet said “no.”

As far as the presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden led Trump 56 – 33 percent in Connecticut, the poll said. Biden was favored by similar margins in New York and New Jersey.

“Fueled by big leads among women, non-whites, and whites with a college degree, it’s looking like a Biden blue state blowout across all three states,” said Quinnipiac Poll Director Doug Schwartz.

The telephone survey of registered voters was conducted from April 30 – May 4. The margin of error for  information from Connecticut respondents was plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

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Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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