Poll Shows Declining Concern over "Y2K"
Worry over Air Travel and Water, Gasoline Stockpiling Rise
With only 38 days until the new year, Americans report they are even less worried now about Year 2000-related computer problems than they were three to nine months ago, according to a recent Gallup poll.
The nationwide telephone poll, conducted in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and USA Today, surveyed 1,010 adults between November 18 and 21. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
"These poll results continue to show that a well-informed and educated public is better able to understand the consequences of 'Y2K' and make decisions for themselves and their families," said George Strawn, NSF's Computer Networking Division Director. "This poll is further evidence that as the public's knowledge and awareness of 'Y2K' has risen over the past 11 months, Americans' level of worry or concern has declined," Strawn added.
The NSF-commissioned poll is the fourth of its kind conducted since December 1998. Polls were also conducted in March and September, 1999. All four polls ask the same questions in order to discover any trends or track changes in the public's attitudes regarding "Y2K."
A full 90% of those polled this time say they have seen or heard "some or a great deal" about the Year 2000 computer issue, or "Y2K," which arises from computers that are improperly programmed to comprehend a computer's date field correctly.
Other significant findings from the November poll include:
Despite previous media accounts that some Americans are preparing for food delivery or water systems to fail, the updated November poll found:
NSF is an independent federal agency with an annual budget of about $3.9 billion, primarily used in support of fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering, as well as wide-ranging education programs. NSF funds reach all 50 states, through grants to more than 2,000 universities and institutions nationwide. NSF receives more than 50,000 requests for funding annually, including at least 30,000 new proposals.
NOTE TO ALL MEDIA: For copies of the November, 1999 poll questions and response rates, call Bill Line at NSF's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs, (703) 306-1070, or check NSF's website at www.nsf.gov after 9:00 am Wednesday, November 24, 1999.
NOTE TO TELEVISION REPORTERS/PRODUCERS NOTE: For Beta SP videotape copies of poll-related B-roll items and soundbites from Dr. George Strawn, call Bill Line at (703) 306-1070. Copies are available for courier pickup or next-day delivery via Federal Express.