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Pollwatch: When is local best?

Chris Hopkins Political Research Director 22/10/2020

Public support Government imposing local lockdowns without support of local leaders by 2:1

Approaching half (47%) of the public back the Government imposing local lockdowns on areas where an agreement cannot be reached with local leaders such a Mayors and council leaders, compared to just a quarter (23%) who oppose.

56% support a nationwide “circuit-breaker” lockdown with a “stay at home” message for two weeks

This comes as talks between local leaders in Greater Manchester and the Government broke down, with Tier 3 Coronavirus restrictions imposed on the area from midnight tomorrow, against the will of the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

Interestingly those from the North West in our poll, including those from Greater Manchester and both Lancashire and the Liverpool City region, already in Tier 3 restrictions, are more likely to oppose the Government imposing local lockdowns than any other region, although still more support (42%) than oppose (30%).

A third of the public (32%) support local leaders having the power to veto lockdowns proposed by the Government, while slightly more (37%) oppose such a veto. Support for such a veto is higher in the North West (38%) compared to most other regions while opposition (29%) is lower.

Despite this, across the UK people are divided on whether they think that a more regional-based handling of the pandemic would have resulted in fewer or more fatalities; a quarter of people say that there would have been more (24%) and fewer (23%) deaths had the pandemic been handled regionally, including earlier regional lockdowns, while just under a third (29%) say it would have made no difference to the number of Covid-related deaths.

Further, the public still seem to support national lockdowns. In our poll, 56% support a nationwide “circuit-breaker” lockdown with a “stay at home” message for two weeks, compared to 18% who oppose; 54% support one for three weeks, compared to 19% who oppose; and 52% support one for four weeks, compared to 21% who oppose. Support does drop to 43% for an indefinite national lockdown, with 29% opposing.

Elsewhere in the poll, our latest Westminster voting intention gives the Conservative Party a healthy 6pt lead over the Labour Party.

The Conservatives are up 3pts, while Labour have fallen by the same margin, down 3pts to 36% from 39% this time last week.

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Methodology: Savanta ComRes interviewed 2,274 UK adults aged 18+ online between 16th and 19th October 2020. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of UK adults 18+ by age, gender, region, and other socio-economic characteristics including social grade. Savanta ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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