Poll: Public Gaining Confidence in Y2K Readiness

Public confidence in Y2K has increased since December 1998, and people now expect fewer and less severe problems to befall the country when computers and other technology attempt to distinguish between the 20th and 21st centuries, according to a poll conducted by the Gallup Organization for the National Science Foundation and USA Today August 25 to 29.

Eleven percent of people polled expect computer mistakes caused by the date change to result in major problems, compared with 21 percent who said the same thing in March 1999 and 34 percent in December of 1998.

Fifteen percent of respondents said they do not expect Y2K to cause any problems, and 40 percent said they do not expect computer mistakes to affect them personally. Those figures represent 5 and 10 percent increases, respectively, compared with responses given nine months ago.

Patterns in figures from the three poll dates suggest that optimism actually decreased between December of last year and March of this year but has now swung in the opposite direction.

To prepare for anticipated Y2K problems, according to the most poll results:

  • 51 percent will obtain special confirmation or documentation of their bank account balances, retirement funds or other financial records.
  • 25 percent will withdraw and set aside a large amount of cash.
  • 10 percent will withdraw all their money from the bank.
  • 43 percent will avoid traveling on airplanes on or around Jan. 1, 2000.
  • 36 percent will stockpile food and water.
  • 21 percent will stock up on gasoline.
  • 14 percent will buy a generator or wood stove.

Results of the National Science Foundation/USA Today Poll are closely aligned with responses given during a poll conducted by the Associated Press July 16 to 21, in which 11 percent of people interviewed predicted major Y2K problems, 66 percent predicted minor Y2K problems, and 18 percent said they don’t expect any Y2K problems to occur in the United States. A poll taken by CBS News a few days earlier, July 13 to 14, also produced similar figures.

Background: PollingReport.com, web site: http://www.pollingreport.com/computer.htm.

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