Predictions 2020: Britons predict rising temperatures and poor economy in 2020

Four in five British adults (81%) felt it was likely that global temperatures would increase in 2020, as do much of the world. On average 77% of people polled in 33 markets thought average global temperatures would increase in 2020.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research
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Rising temperatures were also a key prediction for 2019. At the end of 2018, 78% of people around the world, including 78% of Britons, believed average global temperatures would increase in 2019.

In addition to global temperature increases, the majority of Britons also felt it was likely that there would be large-scale unrest such as protests or riots in Britain in 2020.

64% of Britons predicted this would happen in 2020, a slight increase on 61% who predicted it in 2019. This is eight points above the global average of 56%. The highest rates of predicting unrest were in Colombia (83%), Chile (82%), and France (79%).

Britons lack faith in the economy going into 2020

Britain has little faith in the economy going into 2020. Just 35% of British adults polled by Ipsos MORI agree that the global economy will improve in 2020, while 65% disagree.

Britain is among the least optimistic countries when it comes to the economy. However, France, Belgium, Italy, Japan and Sweden are all more pessimistic than Britain. 27% of French respondents agreed the economy would improve in 2020, with 73% in disagreement.

Globally, around half of people believe the economy will improve this year, while half do not think it will improve.

80% believe 2019 was a bad year for Britain, compared to 65% worldwide who believe this about their country.

Although Britons are optimistic that 2020 will be an improvement on 2019, they are not as optimistic as the rest of the world. 65% of Britons predict 2020 will be better for them than 2019, compared to a global average of 75%.

Britain’s top predictions for 2020

  1. Average global temperatures will increase (81% likely)
  2. People around the world will spend more time online than watching TV (78% likely)
  3. Traffic in the area where I live will get worse (71% likely)
  4. There will be large-scale public unrest (such as protests or riots) in Britain (64% likely)
  5. Income inequality in Britain will increase (58% likely)

Although it is not one of our top predictions for 2020, more than half of Britons believe it’s likely a terrorist attack will be carried out in their country. This is well above the global average of 32%. France rated a terrorist attack as most likely, as 56% rated this event as fairly or very likely. It was followed by Great Britain (53%), Turkey and Israel (both 46%).

However, this marks a drop from 2018, when 63% in France and 57% in Britain said that a major terrorist attack was a likely outcome for 2019.

Unlikely outcomes for 2020

The event Britons find least likely is that aliens will visit the Earth. 79% of Britons felt this was unlikely to happen in 2020, compared to 66% overall within 33 markets polled.

Although increasing global temperature was Britons’ top prediction for the year, it seems we don’t fear this will impact our homes. 68% thought it was unlikely a natural disaster would impact people in their town or city in 2020.

Meanwhile half of Britons believe it’s unlikely women will be paid equally to men in 2020, compared to 39% who believe this is a likely outcome.

  1. Aliens will visit the earth (79% unlikely)
  2. There will be a major natural disaster that will have an impact on people in my town/city (68% unlikely)
  3. Self-driving cars will become a usual sight on the streets of my town/city (65% unlikely)
  4. I will feel lonely most of the time (61% unlikely)
  5. Women will be paid the same as men for the same work (51% unlikely)

Global Predictions: most likely to occur in 2020

  • 77% of people globally think that temperatures will increase
  • People are unsure about Donald Trump’s chances of being re-elected as US President – 36% think it is likely, 39% unlikely.
  • 35% of people think it is likely that major stock markets around the world will crash
  • A third (32%) of people globally think a major terrorist attack will happen in their country in 2020.
  • Just under a third (30%) expect a major natural disaster will impact people in their area.

Technical note

  • 22,512 interviews were conducted between November 22 and December 6, 2019, among adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and adults aged 16-64 in all other countries.
  • The survey was conducted in 33 markets around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. These are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.
  • 17 of the 32 countries surveyed online generate nationally representative samples in their countries. Brazil, Chile, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa and Turkey produce a national sample that is more urban & educated, and with higher incomes than their fellow citizens.  We refer to these respondents as “Upper Deck Consumer Citizens”.  They are not nationally representative of their country. 
  • Where results do not sum to 100, this may be due to computer rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Head of Political Research

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