Magellan coronavirus poll

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A pair of public measures released Thursday found Coloradans and, separately, outdoor employers are struggling now and worried about what the economic future holds.

Some are paying the price with their mental health, according to more results from a comprehensive Magellan Strategies poll that was partly rolled out Monday and augmented with a further release Thursday.

The poll found that at least half the population has had their life disrupted, even though a majority still favors staying home rather than reopening the economy. Sizable portions of the population say they feel trapped and alone in their homes, feeling stressed, afraid and anti-social.

RELATED: Survey: Most Coloradans think the worst is yet to come

"Many respondents just describe it as a roller coaster," said David Flaherty, Magellan's CEO.

The poll indicated 57% are concerned about their economic future, and one-third of those surveyed said they're having a difficult time paying for necessities, including food and their mortgage or rent.

Only 6% of those surveyed said they were financially better off since the national emergency began, while 43% are worse off financially and 50% said they were about the same as before.

"It's significant without question," Flaherty told reporters on a webinar Thursday morning.

While 60% of those polled said they were concerned about the availability of hospital beds, 72% fretted the availability of mental health resources for themselves or others.

Only 27% say their mental health is fine now.

The uninsured, women, the poor and Coloradans of color are worried the most, the poll suggested,

"These populations are really feeling the brunt of this," Flaherty said.

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About two-thirds of respondents expect significant changes to society, with only 25% who think things will go back to the way they were before.

"The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented time for Colorado and the world," said Kyle Rojas Legleiter, the senior policy director at the Colorado Health Foundation, which commissioned the poll with Healthier Colorado, nonprofits that have trended toward policies on the political left.

"We need to be operating with timely information about what people are experiencing and how their needs and view are evolving. The survey helped us listen to Coloradans to obtain this critical information."

He said some Coloradans faced challenges before the outbreak, and the nonprofit hopes the polling data can help guide future policy, including better access to health care, paid family leave and safety net programs.

The survey looked at who Coloradans hold responsible for their woes, with higher confidence in local and state governments. 

"The federal government is not receiving good reviews at all," Flaherty said.

The first half of the 64-question poll was released Monday, when the pollsters talked about financial security, employment and economic impact. Thursday, Magellan and the nonprofits looked more at mental health.

The poll of 1,000 adult Coloradans was conducted April 15-21 using landlines, cell phones and online surveys. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1%. Though the poll does not measure registered or likely voters, the affiliations of those polled reflected the breakdown of Colorado's Democratic, Republican and unaffiliated voters, Flaherty said.

Read the full poll and methodology by clicking here.

A followup poll is planned for this summer, Legleiter said.

He said the wrenching stories from Coloradans heard by pollsters might represent just the "tip of the iceberg."

"They're really heartbreaking stories to hear people in their own words talk about what this moment has meant for them, for their moods, their emotions, their worries and all that, as well," he said. "For us, it's a real call to action to continue to listen to how people are experiencing not just this moment but the ongoing word we find ourselves in."

Also Thursday, the national Outdoor Recreation Roundtable released a survey of more than 1,000 members, including those in Colorado, and 89% had lost sales with 39% reported a decrease of up to 75% or greater.

The survey also found 79% had laid off or furloughed workers, while 11% had jettisoned most or all of staff.

The measure also found 89% of outdoor recreation employers faced difficulty with production and distribution, including 68% who cited significant impacts.

“We knew there have been tremendous impacts to our members and to the entire outdoor recreation industry, but our survey results show the traumatic impact on every sector and to the heart of this once thriving economic engine,” Jessica Wahl, executive director at Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, said in a statement.

“Just a few short months ago outdoor recreation was growing faster than almost any other industry, contributed over $778 billion to the U.S. economy and employed over 5.2 million Americans. To see that 79% of outdoor businesses have had to lay off or furlough employees and that 89% are seeing decreased revenue is jaw-dropping.”

Contact Joey Bunch at joey.bunch@coloradopolitics.com or follow him on Twitter @joeybunch.

Colorado Politics senior political reporter

Joey Bunch is the senior correspondent and deputy managing editor of Colorado Politics. His 32-year career includes the last 16 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and he is a two-time finalist.

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