Concerns over health continue to rebound while the economy and unemployment hit record levels

The Ipsos Issues Monitor is Australia’s longest running ongoing survey of community concerns.

Like we have done each month for more than a decade, we checked-in with 1,000 Australians in August 2020 to understand what is worrying them.

The August survey was fielded during a second-wave Australian COVID-19 pandemic peak. In the month between the July and August Ipsos Issues Monitor surveys infections in Victoria grew dramatically, reaching close to 750 on 30 July, resulting in increased restrictions being announced and coming into effect just before the start of the survey period.

In Melbourne and Mitchell Shire restrictions included compulsory wearing of masks followed by introduction of Stage 4 lockdowns and curfews, and in the rest of Victoria imposition of Stage 3 restrictions including mask use. Over the same time New South Wales was experiencing a growing number of small COVID-19 breakouts and the remaining state borders were about to be closed to minimise the risk of transmission. Globally, new cases grew almost fifty percent between survey waves to close to 300,000 per day, with total global confirmed cases sitting over 18.5 million people.

As infection rates grew Australian unemployment rates, released in July, were at 7.4% hitting a twenty-year high and mental health and domestic violence remained key subjects of commentary in the context of COVID-19 restriction impact.

Results from recent global Ipsos research published in July showed almost half (47%) of Australians nominated Coronavirus as the topic they found most worrying in their country. This underpins the August Ipsos Issues Monitor where the dual impact of COVID-19 continues to be reflected in Australian’s worries with concerns around economy and health continuing to rise.

The Economy (54%) and Unemployment (48%) both hit new record levels of concern after previously hitting record levels in May (53% and 43% respectively). They remain the top two concerns, a ranking they have held since April.

After Healthcare became the top concern at a record level (53%) in April, it dropped to a low point of 26% in June as case numbers declined and infections remained under control. In early August, with infections on the rise, the concern over Healthcare (40%) has continued the upward trajectory observed in July (26%).

Other issues are well behind these top three areas, with concern over other issues either declining or mostly unchanged.

Click here to download the previous Ipsos Issues Monitor COVID-19 July Edition.