The Health Foundation has today released new polling data with Ipsos MORI looking at the public’s attitudes towards the Government’s measures to tackle the public health and economic impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic.
In April, the government introduced the £20 a week increase in Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit for families during the pandemic. The survey shows strong support for this increase, with three quarters (74%) supporting the increase during the pandemic and only one in ten (nine percent) opposing this.
However, the increase is currently expected to be reversed in April 2021. The data shows that a majority (59%) of the public support making the £20 increase in Universal Credit permanent beyond April 2021, with one in five (20%) opposing this.
The Health Foundation/Ipsos MORI research also finds that public support for the UK government's response to the pandemic has fallen further since May. Only 39% of the public think the government has handled the pandemic well, a fall of 21 percentage points from 60% in May. However there is a clear divide on this along political lines, with 71% of Conservative voters saying the UK Government has handled the pandemic well, compared with just 15% of Labour voters.
Other findings include:
- A majority of the public (57%) supports the principle of applying tighter restrictions in areas with higher cases of the virus. However, a significant minority (35%) think the restrictions should apply equally, regardless of levels of the virus.
- Around half (49%) think the measures the Government has taken so far to tackle the Coronavirus outbreak do not go far enough (no change from July when this was 50%). Since May the public have become less likely to think that the measures are about right. In November, only around one third (33%) think the measures are about right, down from 40% in July and 58% in May. The public are now more likely to think that the measures the Government has taken go too far than in July (up from six per cent in July to 14% in November).
- The public is relatively divided on whether or not it is possible to equally protect public health and the economy during the pandemic. While 45% think it is possible, 37% think it is not, and 18% do not offer an opinion or do not know.
- People continue to be very concerned about the longer-term impacts of COVID-19. Nearly 9 in 10 (86%) are concerned about the risk COVID-19 presents to the health and wellbeing of the nation, while even more (94%) are concerned about the risk to health and wellbeing of the knock-on impact of Coronavirus on lifestyles and the economy - with more very concerned than in July (up from 67% to 72%).
The November survey was conducted by telephone on the Ipsos MORI CATI Omnibus survey, a weekly telephone omnibus survey of a representative sample of people aged 18 and over in Great Britain. Fieldwork took place between 13th November and 24th November 2020. A total of 2,001 people were interviewed. For the main sample, quotas were set on age, gender, ethnicity, Government Office Region and working status.
For the overall November findings, data has been weighted to the known population proportions for age within gender, Government Office Region and working status and social grade
The July and May surveys were also conducted via telephone on the Ipsos MORI CATI Omnibus survey. In the July survey, a total of 2,246 people were interviewed between 17th July and 29th July 2020. In addition to the people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds interviewed as part of the main sample in July, a booster survey was conducted. The July sample included a total of 423 interviews conducted with BAME participants, of which 181 participants were interviewed as part of the main sample and 242 as part of the booster sample. In the May survey, a total of 1,983 people were interviewed between 1st and 10th May 2020. Where questions were repeated in the July and November surveys, these have been included in the report against the May and July data for comparison, with significant differences commented upon.
Throughout the report findings will highlight, and make reference to, different sub-groups based on responses to certain questions. When interpreting the survey findings, it is important to remember that the results are based on a sample of the population, not the entire population. Consequently, results are subject to margins of error, and not all differences between sub-groups are statistically significant (i.e. a real difference). Differences between sub-groups which have been reported are all statistically significantly.
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