New Zogby Poll on Y2K Preps : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Survey: Americans preparing for Y2K

By Joanna Blair

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is another in a continuing series of stories examining Y2K readiness in the Mid-Mon Valley.

An overwhelming majority of Americans - 77 percent - say they are preparing on some level for possible adverse impacts of the Y2K computer bug, according to a Zogby America survey.

Almost half say they have begun to stock up on food and emergency equipment for the New Year. Overall, 49 percent said they were "concerned" about potential problems that could result if computers in key business and economic systems fail to recognize dates after Jan. 1, 2000. About 50 percent said they were "not concerned."

Some highlights of the survey of 1,008 people contacted include:

  • Just over 19 percent said they planned to stock up in a major way with survival food and emergency equipment, while another 26 percent will stock up more lightly with food and emergency items.

  • On average, the 77 percent who will take some precautions just in case there are computer failures in some critical sectors such as power, transportation, finance, health care or communications, plan simple steps such as verifying their financial and banking records (48 percent), or keeping extra cash on hand (37 percent).

    About 33 percent will fill their car's gas tank, 23 percent will refill medical prescriptions, 13 percent will stock up on heating fuel, 15 percent plan to review or alter their investment portfolios and about 20 percent plan to avoid air travel around the New Year.

  • 20 percent plan no preparations, and 2 percent are unsure, the survey shows.

    While not weighing in on the actual technical problems Y2K may cause, Zogby economic analyst David Beatty says, "At this point, it appears the public's responses to Y2K will not cause serious mischief for the economy. How people respond will help some sectors and hurt others, but the effects are likely to be brief."

    The Federal Reserve's well-publicized plan to dramatically increase the amount of cash in the overall money supply brought this comment from Beatty, in light of the poll: "Some of the extra cash people hold outside the banks will be spent for stocking up, sending it right back into the banks. If they are holding extra cash in January, 69 percent say they will redeposit those funds, though it seems likely a fair amount of it will get spent, possibly adding zip to the economy in the new year if Y2K causes few problems."

    Reflecting their personal concerns and interest, institutions people fear may be negatively affected by Y2K include financial networks (35 percent), government (31 percent), communications (30 percent), business and manufacturing (30 percent), airlines (28 percent), cars and other transportation (18 percent), public utilities (26 percent), health care facilities (24 percent) and the military (23 percent), the survey shows.

    With just 53 days left to the end of 1999, the command center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is not planning for champagne and party hats on New Year's Eve. It will be all business for officials at the headquarters responsible for supplying and maintaining parts for the Air Force planes and weapons systems around the globe.

    According to an Associated Press report last week, officials plan to be in a basement command center at the base, watching for any problems created by the Y2K bug that could cause some computer systems to read the new year as 1900 instead of 2000.

    The vigil will begin Dec. 28 or 29.

    "We're going to be standing up for as long as it takes," said Lt. Col. Tom Bellnoski, chief of the command center at Air Force Materiel Command. "It could be a couple days. It could be a couple weeks."

    "Standing up" means maintaining continuous contact with 14 other command centers at Air Force bases in Tennessee, Texas, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Utah, New Mexico, Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma.

    Capt. John Rankin, Y2K deputy program manager, said the group would check any Y2K effect on weapons systems and computers used to track the movement of parts. Utilities and security at each installation will also be monitored.

    In other Y2K news last week, the Clinton administration's Y2K czar, John Koskinen, is exasperated with the many small businesses that are ignoring the Millennium Bug problem. He warns there is little the federal government can do if companies experience major computer disruptions in the Year 2000.

    "If you're a small company that decides to wait and fix it and does not get it fixed on time," he explained, "out position is, 'That's life.' It's a great, free country, and you have the freedom to fail."

    Koskinen estimates there are 800,000 small businesses in the United States at risk for Y2K computer failures. As alarming as Koskinen's figure may be, the Small Business Administration reportedly has said that of the 16 million small U.S. business which have done nothing to deal with Y2K, 8 million are at risk of failure. Either way, a lot of American jobs are in jeopardy.

    -- Dog Gone (, November 09, 1999

  • Answers

    Here's the Link.

    It looks like we're getting the message out.

    -- Dog Gone (, November 09, 1999.

    Dog Gone, how did you come across this article?

    -- Lane Core Jr. (, November 10, 1999.

    Moderation questions? read the FAQ