Georgina Rodriguez, of Brentwood, buys gas in Hauppauge earlier this month....

Georgina Rodriguez, of Brentwood, buys gas in Hauppauge earlier this month. Eighty-five percent of Long Islanders said they were "very" or "somewhat" concerned about gas prices. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Long Islanders and other New Yorkers are planning to tighten their belts in light of rising inflation and the war in Ukraine, a new poll found.

More than eight out of 10 Long Islanders said inflation was having a "serious negative impact" on their finances, according to a new survey of consumers released Thursday by the Siena College Research Institute. That compared to 70% recorded statewide.

Seventy-two percent of respondents in Nassau and Suffolk counties and 69% statewide said they planned to cut back on spending in general, while more than one-third in both populations said they plan to postpone or cancel a vacation, the survey said.

More than a quarter of those surveyed on Long Island and statewide also said they would have to dip into savings to cover everyday expenses.

"It's noteworthy that two-thirds of people say they're going to buy less expensive items and less in general," said Don Levy, director of the Siena College Research Institute.

Slower consumer spending "is not ... good news" for many businesses across the state, he said.

On Long Island, 31% of respondents said they planned to get a second job or find another income source to make ends meet, slightly lower than the 35% statewide.

"On the Island, the price of gasoline goes a long way toward influencing consumer sentiment," Levy said. "There are these big billboards you pass every day. The same with food prices."

Eighty-five percent of Long Islanders said they were "very" or "somewhat" concerned about the cost of gasoline in view of the war and current economic conditions.

The war in Ukraine cast a broad shadow over consumers' economic outlook.

Fifty-nine percent of Long Islanders and 54% of New Yorkers overall said the war in Ukraine and the global response would have economic repercussions for Americans that linger for years. That compares to 30% of Long Islanders and 32% of New Yorkers statewide who said the war won't have lasting financial impact here.

Levy said the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 provides some parallels to the outbreak of war in Ukraine and consumers' reaction.

"When the pandemic hit...that wiped the bottom out of consumer confidence," he said.

In addition to gasoline prices, respondents voiced concern about food and utility costs.

Ninety percent of Long Islanders and 87% of New Yorkers said they were "concerned" or "very concerned" by food prices, while 76% in both geographies voiced concerns about utility costs.

The survey by SCRI, a non-partisan research institute, was conducted March 14-17 with 396 random telephone calls and 405 responses drawn from a proprietary online panel. The overall results have a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.

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