Majority of Britons continue to think The Government should prioritise health over economy in COVID-19 response

People's health is seen as more important than the country's economic health in latest Ipsos MORI poll.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
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New polling from Ipsos MORI over the past weekend finds the majority of Britons (53%) think the Government should prioritise peoples’ health, with more restrictions on public events, workplaces and travel, compared to just 11% who think it should prioritise economic health by having less restrictions.  Whilst three in ten say it should be both equally. 

These numbers are virtually identical to when the same question was asked mid-March before the lockdown began.

Majority of Britons continue to think The Government should prioritise health over economy in Covid responseThe majority of people also think Briton’s economy will recover from the Coronavirus crisis at the same rate or more quickly than other countries.  However, three in ten (29%) say they think the British economy will recover more slowly, with 4% saying it will never recover. 2019 Conservative voters are significantly more positive about the British economy’s ability to bounce back from this crisis, with 19% saying Britain will recover more quickly and 54% saying we will recover at the same rate as other countries.  Compared to 9% of 2019 Labour voters who think Britain’s economy will recover quicker and 34% who think we will recover at the same pace. 40% of Labour voters from 2019 think the economy will recover more slowly.

Majority of Britons continue to think The Government should prioritise health over economy in Covid responseResearch Director, Keiran Pedley said:

These findings suggest it may be a challenge for the government to take public opinion with it as lockdown restrictions are eased. Despite several weeks of lockdown, a majority of the public still insist the public health should be prioritised over economic health, with more restrictions rather than less if necessary. It is striking that these numbers are virtually unchanged since mid-March. Views may now shift as new rules are better understood but these findings just go to show how cautious the British public is at this stage.

Technical note:

  • Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,069 British adults aged 18-75 online between 8th-11th May 2020.  Data are weighted to the profile of the population

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs

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