Less than half of Britons support a second complete national lockdown

The public are divided on a second complete national lockdown but "local lockdowns" and banning travel to other countries are more popular

The author(s)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Glenn Gottfried Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
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In a new online survey by Ipsos MORI, opinion is split on a second complete national lockdown. 

Forty-four per cent support this measure being taken as a means of controlling the coronavirus pandemic, whilst 34% oppose it. 17% neither support nor oppose and 5% say they don’t know.

The British public are most likely to support the use of “local lockdowns” in regions where coronavirus cases are rising; three-quarters (76%) support this approach, including 42% who strongly support it. Only 1 in 10 (9%) oppose this measure.

Other measures that are well supported include banning all travel to other countries (69%), implementing curfews to prevent people going out at night (59%) and closing all restaurants and pubs (51%). Only a third (34%) of Britons support the closing of all schools while 39% support closing universities. 
Public support for different measuresThe British public continue to prioritise people’s health over the economic health of the country. However, this is softening a little. Whilst more than half (53%) said the government should prioritise the public’s health rather than the economy in May, fewer than half say this now (45%). However, there has been no increase in support for prioritising the nation’s economic health (11% now, 11% in May). Instead more people now say neither (3%, up 2 points) or don’t know (7%, up 3 points). Meanwhile, a third (33%) believe economic and public health should be treated equally (+2 points). 

Fewer people say they are following the government rules now. Three-quarters (75%) were following government rules completely/ most of the time in May, now 3 in 5 say the same (62%). 

Who is following the rules?A majority now say that government messaging on Covid-19 is unclear. Over half (54%) of Britons now say that government communications about what to do in response to coronavirus are unclear, an increase from 40% in June. However, almost two-thirds of those who voted Conservative in the last General Election say government messaging is clear, compared to only 35% of Labour voters and 28% of Liber Democrat voters. 

Commenting on the findings, Ipsos MORI Research Director Keiran Pedley said:

The British public continue to be in favour of quite strong measures to combat coronavirus, with clear majorities supporting ‘local lockdowns’, banning international travel and night time curfews. However, support for another complete national lockdown is less clear, with fewer than half supporting this. Meanwhile, as the government seeks to suppress a second wave of coronavirus, it may find it concerning that fewer Britons claim to be following the existing rules and more than half claim government communications about what to do in response to the virus are unclear.

Technical note:

  • Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,068 British adults aged 18+. Interviews were conducted online from 18th to 20th September, 2020. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.
     

The author(s)

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

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