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Boris Johnson Isolation Snap Poll – 18th July 2021

A majority of English adults say that the Prime Minister and Chancellor’s plan to avoid self-isolating was unfair.

  • Three in five (60%) say that the plans not to self-isolate by the PM were unfair
  • Three quarters (78%) say the u-turn is the right decision
  • Two in three (63%) say the story will be damaging for the government
  • Three quarters (75%) agree that it is one rule for them and one for everyone else

Three in five (60%) English adults say that the plan by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to not self-isolate having been a close contact of a positive coronavirus case was unfair, according to a snap poll from Savanta ComRes.

A third (33%) say that the original plan for the Prime Minister and Chancellor to instead be part of a pilot scheme involving daily testing instead of self-isolating was fair.

The later government u-turn, meaning that the PM and Chancellor will now self-isolate, is the right decision according to 78% of the public, while 15% say the u-turn is the wrong decision.

The poll also finds that almost two in three (63%) say that the story will be damaging for the government, including more than half (53%) of those who voted Conservative at the last election.

In addition to the original decision being seen as unfair, three quarters (75%) agree with the sentiment that there is “one rule for members of the government and another rule for everyone else”, again including a majority (67%) of those who voted Conservative in 2019.

And while the impact of this will be difficult to measure going forward, a quarter (26%) of English adults say that people should ignore government advice if pinged by the NHS Covid-19 app, and make decisions on whether to self-isolate and how long for on an individual, case-by-case basis, with similar feelings across all age groups whether more likely to have had both vaccine doses (55+, 28%) or just the one (18-34, 26%).

A further 16% of those with the NHS Covid-19 app plan to delete it after tomorrow’s ‘Freedom Day’, while a similar proportion of the overall population (16%) have already deleted it.

Commenting on the findings, Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes says:

“After another embarrassing u-turn for the government this morning, our snap poll finds that the majority would have found the decision unfair had the government stuck to their guns and allowed the Prime Minister and Chancellor to participate in the pilot study rather than self-isolate.

Whether this will end up doing any long-term damage to the government remains to be seen: the last major issue of ‘fairness’ the government got hopelessly wrong was standing by Dominic Cummings when he broke lockdown rules last year. The fact the government quickly reversed their decision here should limit the damage, but if the story rumbles on, the irony of the Prime Minister self-isolating on Freedom Day may not be lost on voters.”


Date Published: 18/07/2021

Categories: Politics | Public and communities

Client: Savanta ComRes


Savanta ComRes interviewed 1,003 English adults aged 18+ on Sunday 18th July. All fieldwork was conducted after 2pm. Data were weighted to be representative of English adults by age, sex, region and SEG. Savanta ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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