Britons believe the government is relaxing coronavirus restrictions at the right speed as economic optimism rises again

Ipsos MORI's latest Political Monitor shows two-thirds think the government is relaxing coronavirus restrictions in England at the right speed.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Glenn Gottfried Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
  • Dylan Spielman Public Affairs
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  • Public split on whether government has been doing well or badly handling the pandemic overall, but strong ratings for vaccine programme
  • If an election was held tomorrow voting intentions among likely voters would be: Conservative 40% (-5); Labour 37% (-1); Liberal Democrats 8% (+2), Greens 5% (no change).

New polling from Ipsos MORI’s Political Monitor reveals two-thirds (67%) of the public believe the government is relaxing coronavirus restrictions in England at the right speed. This comes two weeks after coronavirus restrictions in England were eased so that all shops could open along with hairdressers and gyms. One in five (21%) say that the restrictions are being lifted too quickly but only 9% think it is acting too slowly.

Economy

The public are split on whether the Government has been doing well or badly handling the coronavirus outbreak where 45% say well (up 4 points from March) while 45% say badly (up 1 point). Despite this, they continue to view the vaccination programme in a very positive light with 86% saying the Government has done a good job ensuring the public are vaccinated as soon as possible – this even includes 85% of Labour supporters.

Other key findings in detail (changes from March unless otherwise stated):

Handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccines

  • Boris Johnson’s ratings handling the pandemic remain stable with 42% (-1) saying he’s handled it well and 46% badly (no change).
  • As are Matt Hancock’s ratings with 38% saying he’s handled it well (no change) and 41% badly (-1).
  • Rishi Sunak remains popular with 59% saying he’s handled the pandemic well (+4) and 17% badly (-3)
  • Keir Starmer’s ratings are also stable from last month with 29% saying well (+3) and 28% badly (+2)

Economic Optimism Index

  • Half (51%) think the economy will get better over the next 12 months (+8), 36% worse (-5), giving a net Economic Optimism Index score of +15. This is the best “improve” score since August 2014, and the highest net Index score since July 2015.
  • However, optimism is still lower among young people (39% of 18-34s think the economy will improve over the next year vs 56% of those aged 55+), and among women (45% vs 56% of men).

Economy

Voting Intention

  • Despite positive ratings for the economy and vaccination programme, there has been a dip in the Conservatives’ vote share. If an election was held tomorrow voting intentions among likely voters would be: Conservative 40% (-5); Labour 37% (-1); Liberal Democrats 8% (+2), Greens 5% (no change).

Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said:

Conservative supporters are feeling slightly less enthusiastic this month, which is feeding through into vote share, although there is little sign of much switching to Labour. At the same time, some of the underlying numbers remain more positive for the Government, with economic optimism increasing once again, and very strong ratings for the vaccination programme across the board, which means we need to wait to see whether this is just a short-term effect. But this data suggests that the upcoming elections will be an important test for both parties.

Technical Note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,090 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 16th – 22nd April 2021. Data are weighted to the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error. On the basis of the historical record of the polls at recent general elections, there is a 9 in 10 chance that the true value of a party’s support lies within 4 points of the estimates provided by this poll, and a 2 in 3 chance that they lie within 2 points.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Glenn Gottfried Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
  • Dylan Spielman Public Affairs

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