Dyson, Marist Poll Release Regional Survey of 4,320 Residents

'Many Voices One Valley 2007' Details Region's Priorities, Viewpoints

October 8, 2007

POUGHKEEPSIE—The Dyson Foundation and the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion today released Many Voices One Valley 2007, a far-reaching survey of 4,320 Mid-Hudson Valley residents covering a range of critical and timely issues, including health care, affordability, quality of life, taxation, and confidence in local leaders.

“This report provides an up-close and detailed understanding of the perceptions, hopes, and fears of the people of our region. In particular, it demonstrates that many residents of the Mid-Hudson Valley are struggling to make ends meet, often making difficult financial choices in order to afford to live here,” said Robert R. Dyson, president of the Millbrook-based Dyson Foundation, which financed the study. “We are indebted to the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion for, once again, showing why they are considered one of the pre-eminent polling organizations in the country.”

The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion (MIPO) interviewed 4,320 residents from seven counties comprising the Mid-Hudson Valley in completing the survey which profiles the region and details people’s perceptions and concerns. Many Voices One Valley 2007 revisits a similar report issued by the Dyson Foundation and MIPO five years ago. This report provides illuminating comparative information, demonstrating consistent trends and intriguing changes in residents’ viewpoints since the first survey was completed in 2002.

Dr. Lee M. Miringoff , director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion said, “This is an extremely data rich survey which will serve as a valuable community resource for many years. The Dyson Foundation, in its ongoing support of this project, allows this research to identify points of both continuity and change.”

Among the key findings in the report (which can be viewed in its entirety at www.ManyVoicesOneValley.org) are:
  • Making health care more affordable tops all other priorities in the minds of Mid-Hudson Valley residents.
  • Reducing taxes leaps to third on the list of residents’ top priorities in 2007 after registering ninth the last time the survey was conducted in 2002. It is the number one priority in Putnam County.
  • Sixty percent of the region’s residents believe their local leaders don’t share their views on issues, compared with 50 percent of residents in 2002.
  • Twenty-nine percent of Mid-Hudson Valley residents expect to leave the region within the next five years with half of those citing economic pressures as the motivating factor.
  • Eighty-eight percent of the region’s residents feel positively about life in their communities and 77 percent feel they can have an impact on the place in which they live.
The survey of 4,320 Mid-Hudson Valley residents was conducted over a 10-week period—from April 9 through June 19—covering seven counties, including Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan, and Ulster. (The 2002 study did not include Sullivan County.) Along with regional results, the survey breaks down responses by county as well, giving local leaders, non-profit agencies, government and businesses the ability to track local trends and perceptions.

The over 200-page report is broken down into three sections: the first, “Many Voices One Valley 2007,” mirrors and compares those questions and priorities explored in the 2002 study; the second, “Making Ends Meet,” is an exploration of the region’s affordability; and the third, “Health Matters,” represents an in-depth study of residents’ status and perceptions regarding health care.

Founded in 1978, the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion (MIPO) is a survey research center at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. The Marist Poll has conducted independent research on public priorities, elections, and a wide variety of issues including the economy, health care, foreign affairs, the environment, science, information technology, and lifestyles. Through the regular public release of Marist Poll surveys, MIPO has built a legacy of independence, reliability, and accuracy. Frequently cited by journalists, public officials, and policy experts, the Marist Poll has been recognized for fairness, accuracy, and timeliness. Its results are featured in print and electronic media throughout the world.

Established in 1957, the Dyson Foundation is a private, family-directed grantmaking foundation led by Robert R. Dyson, who has served as the Foundation’s President since 2000. Headquartered in Millbrook, the Foundation awards grants through a diverse regional funding program serving the Mid-Hudson Valley. The Foundation’s assets stand at approximately $354 million and, in 2006, it awarded grants in excess of $18.4 million.

For more information about this press release, contact:
Dr. Lee Miringoff, director, Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, 845-575-5050
Dr. Barbara Carvalho, director, Marist Poll, 845-575-5050
Stephen Densmore, press liaison, The Dyson Foundation, 845-234-8713