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Pollwatch: Is third time a charm?

Chris Hopkins Political Research Director 06/01/2021

Support for the latest lockdown measures is predictably high amongst English adults, but almost two in three say that the Government have reacted too slowly

Four in five (79%) English adults support the new national lockdown
Following a rapid rise in COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions over the Christmas period, on Monday the UK Government announced a national lockdown in England, including a stay at home message and the closure of schools.

Our latest polling looks at the English public’s view on the latest lockdown announcement, including overall levels of support, when the public think things will return to ‘normal’ and how quickly or slowly they think the Government have reacted to developments throughout the course of the pandemic.

Some of the key findings from the poll:

  • Four in five (79%) English adults support the new national lockdown. A similar proportion (72%) supported last year’s November lockdown when polled on 31st October.
  • Support for the new measures is higher among older adults aged 55+ (87%), but still a large majority of 18-34s support the measures (70%).
  • Nearly two in three (62%) say that the Government has reacted too slowly to changes and developments throughout the pandemic, including half (53%) of 2019 Conservatives.
  • Despite the vaccine, half (51%) do not expect life to return to normal before September; a third (35%) before Christmas.

The poll, conducted after the Prime Minister’s address to the nation at 8pm on Monday night (4th Jan), shows high levels of support across all age groups, genders and political persuasions.

Older people aged 55+ (87%) are more likely to support the latest measures compared to younger adults (70%), and 2019 Conservative voters (87%) are more likely to support the measures than 2019 Labour voters (76%).

The poll finds that half (53%) say that they’re more concerned about Coronavirus now than they were just four days ago on New Year’s Day, while six in ten (60%) say that they’re more concerned now than they were back in March when the first lockdown was announced.

Despite high levels of support for the lockdown, almost two in three (62%) say that the Government have responded too slowly to changes and developments, not just in this case, but more broadly throughout the pandemic. Just one in five (20%) say that the Government have responded at the right speed throughout.

Dissatisfaction with the Government is also highlighted by the three quarters (73%) who say that the Government’s Coronavirus strategy should be mostly or solely focussed on stopping the spread of the virus at the expense of opening up the economy, but just 57%, 16 points fewer, say that such a strategy is currently being deployed by the Government.

Despite the Prime Minister’s address on Monday night containing some positivity regarding the vaccine, and a heavy implication that only through a successful vaccination rollout would restrictions begin to be relaxed, half (51%) of English adults do not believe things will return to a pre-Covid normality before September, while a third (35%) do not expect things to return to normal before December.

And, there is once again a sense from the public that the Government could go further still. More than seven in ten say that making entrants to the UK take Covid tests on entering the country (76%) and closing the UK’s border (71%) would be effective at stopping the spread of Coronavirus.

Just half, by comparison, say that a curfew, similar to other countries, would be effective (49%).

Methodology: Savanta ComRes interviewed 1,015 English adults aged 18+ online on 4th January 2021, after the Prime Minister’s broadcast to the nation at 8pm. Data were weighted to be representative of all 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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