UW Survey: People Paying Less Attention To Coronavirus News

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

People questioned for a statewide University of Wyoming survey are paying a little less attention to news about the coronavirus pandemic than they were when it first began.

The survey by the university Survey and Analysis Center showed that 83.9% of those questioned on May 11 are following coronavirus coverage “very closely” or “fairly closely,” a decline from the figure of 90.9% seen in late March.The number following the issue “a little closely” increased from 9% in March to 13.2% in May, while those following coverage “not at all closely” grew from 1.2% to 2.9.%.

For those following the coronavirus story, information provided by local media is more trustworthy than information provided by national news outlets, the survey said.

The survey said while 7.3% trust national news coverage “a great deal” and 6.1% trust local coverage to the same degree, 63.6% trust local news either “a great deal” or “a good amount,” while only 39.5% feel the same way about national coverage.

The percentage of people who do not trust national coverage at all was set at 30.3%, compared to 10.8% for local coverage.

On other issues, the survey showed that 43.2% of those questioned have changed their daily routines “a lot” since the pandemic began, while 41.6% have changed their routines “a little.”

Most people, 68.8%, changed their routines by spending more time at home, the survey said, while 68.2% said they were avoiding contact with others and 67.2% said they were going out to eat less.

The online survey of 473 Wyoming residents is the fourth conducted by the Survey and Analysis Center since the pandemic began to determine public attitudes about it. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5%.

Those questioned were a randomly selected sample of Wyoming residents who are part of the Survey and Analysis Center’s “WyoSpeaks” panel. Email surveys were sent to 1,486 panel members and 473 responded.

Earlier Cowboy State Daily stories had erroneously reported that the survey was a random telephone survey.

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