Community concerns reach record levels amid COVID-19 crisis

Community concerns around Healthcare and Unemployment have reached record levels amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The Ipsos Issues Monitor is Australia’s longest running ongoing survey of community concerns. We’ve checked-in with Australians’ worries each and every month more than a decade. So, what are we most concerned about amid the COVID-19 crisis, how much have our worries changed and which political party do we believe is most capable to navigate these waters?

Download the Ipsos Issues Monitor – concerns during COVID-19 infographic AND check out these six things you need to know about who is worried about what and why we are so concerned.

  1. In April 2020, Healthcare was nominated as the top issue facing the nation (55%) ahead of The Economy (47%) and Unemployment (39%). Cost of Living (22%) and The Environment (22%) rounded out the top five.
  2. Worries regarding the top three issues of Healthcare, The Economy and Unemployment increased considerably between March and April, with Australians’ concerns around both Healthcare and Unemployment climbing by a massive +22%, and worries about The Economy rising +17%. In relative terms, the most stunning rise was the more than doubling in concern about Unemployment – from 16% in March (8th biggest issue) to 39% (3rd) in a month.
  3. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented levels of concern and, as such, in April 2020 more Australians than ever nominated Healthcare (55%) as one of their top three worries. The previous high-tide mark was set at 49% in December of 2010. Similarly, Australians have never before been so concerned about Unemployment (39%), with the previous record set at 33% in August of 2014 (when the unemployment rate was 6.2%). While concerns about The Economy (47%) did not set a new record (current high is 52% from May 2014), they came close.
  4. So just as we’ve observed steep inclines in concern acuity regarding Healthcare, The Economy and Unemployment, in April 2020 Australians’ worries regarding Crime and The Environment dropped considerably, with only 13% selecting Crime as a top concern (new record low) and 22% choosing The Environment. In January 2020, The Environment was clearly the nation’s top concern (41%). Worry has halved in three months.
  5. Averages can be misleading and concern acuity does discriminate across generational lines to an extent, with younger Australians – members of Generation Z, Millennials and Generation X – currently more likely to be worried about Unemployment, Cost of Living and The Environment relative to Boomers and Builders, who are more likely to cite Healthcare and The Economy as primary concerns.
  6. So that’s what we’re worried about, but which political parties do we believe are most capable to manage us through this crisis? In April, Australians’ were more likely to nominate the Coalition ahead of the ALP as the party most capable to manage our top three worries of Healthcare (34% Coalition, 29% ALP), The Economy (43%, 22%) and Unemployment (34%, 28%). Interestingly, Australians’ belief in the Coalition to manage Healthcare has never been higher than it was in April. Typically, the ALP is nominated as the party most capable to manage Healthcare. But these aren’t typical times.