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Siena Poll Explores Whether New Yorkers Support Citizen Question In Next US Census


BUFFALO, NY (WBFO) - A newly-released Siena poll of more than 770 New Yorkers suggests most folks want to ensure all New Yorkers are counted in the 2020 US Census. But they are divided over one potential question that could get asked: are you a US citizen?

Eighty-five percent of the more than 770 people who responded say they find it either "very important" or "somewhat important" to ensure New York State works to ensure as many people as possible are counted in the 2020 US Census. Knowing how many people are living in the state, census advocates explain, helps secure the appropriate level of government support for those residing within the Empire State.

But opinions become more divided when people were asked about a specific question which could end up as part of the Census next year: "Are you a US citizen?" Critics of the question say attempting to ask it will discourage participation in the count. Support and opposition to including the question was divided, somewhat, along partisan lines.

"Here we have a majority - 58 percent - who say they support that question," said Don Levy of Siena Research Institute. "This one does break down on party lines. A majority of Democrats are opposed to asking about citizenship."

Of the 37 percent who oppose asking the question, 52 percent identified as Democrats. Among the 58 percent supporting the inclusion of the citizenship question, 83 percent identified as Republicans.

New York, in 2010, spent $10 million to promote participation in the Census held that year. Most of those responding in regards to the 2020 Census either want to hold the spending line or spend less in next year's count.

"About 37 percent said let's spend the same, 36 percent said let's spend less," Levy said.

Only 18 percent overall supported spending more to promote the count. Ten percent of Upstate respondents shared that opinion.

More than 770 people were questioned by Siena pollsters over a four-day period last week.