Dyson Foundation, Marist Poll Release Findings of Hudson Valley Issues Study

October 3, 2002

Lee Miringoff
Marist College Institute for Public Opinion

Diana Gurieva
The Dyson Foundation

POUGHKEEPSIE – Residents of the Hudson Valley enjoy living here and feel they make a difference in their communities. They express concern about a number of issues, especially the economy, education and health care. And, community leaders feel pretty much the same way on the issues of the day as the public.

The study, “Many Voices, One Valley,” is a project of the Dyson Foundation, the largest foundation in the Hudson Valley and the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. A total of 3,882 residents in Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam and Ulster counties were polled, as were an additional 245 community leaders in those counties. It is the most comprehensive survey done of the region.

“The Dyson Foundation commissioned this survey to begin a dialogue on the issues that need to be addressed in both the short- and long-term,” said foundation president Robert R. Dyson. “The good news is that the Hudson Valley is a wonderful place to live. This study shows there are needs which we as a community must tackle, particularly when it comes to providing affordable health care and quality public education.”

“What makes this project special is that by joining forces the Dyson Foundation and Marist College are able to provide information that can serve as a resource for community leaders and the public,” said Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

Among the study’s central findings:

  • 88% of Hudson Valley residents rate their community positively. In fact, 63% of residents rate their community very highly - as either an excellent or a very good place to live.
  • 76% of Hudson Valley residents believe they can have at least a moderate impact on making their community a better place to live with 57% being active in local organizations.
  • The economic vitality of the region, the quality of the public schools, and the affordability of health care are the top priorities for both Hudson Valley residents and community leaders. Differences in priorities emerge among segments of the population based on income, age and race.
  • Hudson Valley residents are particularly concerned about jobs. 57% of Hudson Valley residents do not rate the quality of jobs in their community positively. In contrast, 51% of community leaders in the Hudson Valley do rate the quality of jobs positively.
  • Most Hudson Valley residents (70%) and community leaders (67%) rate the public schools in their community positively. However, only 11% of Hudson Valley residents and 9% of community leaders rate the public schools as excellent.
  • 24% of Hudson Valley households either are currently without health insurance or have had at least one member of their household go without health insurance within the past year.
Two surveys were conducted. The first survey interviewed 3,882 residents in the six counties that define the Hudson Valley region. The counties included Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, and Ulster. Interviews of Hudson
Valley residents were administered by telephone from October 5th through December 10th, 2001.

A second companion survey was conducted with 245 community leaders within the same six counties. This scientifically selected sample of community leaders included government and elected officials, heads of major institutions, prominent members of the media, and business executives. Interviews of Hudson Valley community leaders were conducted by telephone from November 15th through December 19th, 2001.

The sampling error for the results of the survey of Hudson Valley residents, 3,882 interviews, is ±2%. The sampling error for the results of the survey of Hudson Valley community leaders, 245 interviews, is ±6.5%.

The complete results for the study are available on the Internet at www.dyson.org/manyvoices.html. It can also be accessed from the Dyson Foundation website (www.dysonfoundation.org) or the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion website (www.maristpoll.marist.edu). The full report along with summaries for Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, and Ulster counties are available. Copies on CD-ROM are also available from the Dyson Foundation's offices.

Additional, in-depth analyses on children’s issues, access to health care, and tolerance and racial disparities will be available later in the fall.

For more information about this press release, contact:
Lee Miringoff, Marist College
Institute for Public Opinion
(845) 575-5050
Diana Gurieva, The Dyson Foundation
(845) 677-0644