Fly Research poll: week 14 update
London based online market research agency FlyResearch has been issuing weekly polls to its research panel of over 3000 people throughout the coronavirus lockdown in the UK, in order to project how the outbreak and the implementing of social distancing has been impacting the daily life of UK citizens. In conversation with The Parliamentary Review, managing partner Greg Ward discusses the findings from the fourteenth wave of the Covid-19 tracker survey, published on July 2 and sourced from data collected on June 26.
Beginning his customary analysis, Ward revealed that while emotional wellbeing among respondents took a step backwards this week, the outlook for employment has begun to show some green shoots and physical wellbeing has again remained largely unchanged from the previous week.
Ward said: “As has become something of a theme in recent weeks, very little has changed with regards to the opening question about the physical wellbeing of our respondents. We have seen a very slight drop in the percentage of panellists who have not suffered any symptoms at all, going from 53 per cent last week down to 51 per cent now.
“We’ve also seen a one per cent drop - from 13 per cent to 12 per cent - in the number of respondents informing us that they know somebody who has passed away as a result of coronavirus. This number has been hovering between 12 and 13 per cent for much of the last six weeks. We do know, of course, that deaths are still occurring, but the numbers have slowed considerably.”
Shifting focus to the positive trajectory concerning FlyResearch’s employment question in the poll, Ward explained: “Last week, 12 per cent of respondents reported that they were on furlough. We have now seen this number drop to ten per cent, while the percentage of those telling us they have been made redundant remains at one per cent.
“The drop in the number of furloughed has transferred directly to those who are working, which has grown from 41 per cent to 43 per cent. Hopefully this positive trajectory will continue in the next few weeks with more and more businesses beginning to reopen.”
Addressing the survey’s customary question about the emotional health of panel members, the previous week’s poll had showed that the emotion “hopeful”, had overtaken “concerned” as the dominant emotion [39 per cent versus 37 per cent]. However, Ward delivered the news this week that this respite was very much temporary.
“Unfortunately, since that positive movement last week, we have seen a regression in the ‘hopeful’ emotion which has receded to from 39 per cent to 34 per cent this week. Meanwhile, those polling in to tell us they are concerned has risen to 44 per cent. Rather uncannily, these are the exact numbers recorded in the twelfth week poll from two weeks prior.”
In the previous poll, Ward informed The Review that FlyResearch had identified a correlation between the emotional wellbeing figures, and the levels of support the panellists were lending to the government’s handling of the pandemic in the survey’s one to ten tracker scale. Yet, although negative trajectory has been seen in people’s emotions, this has not come at the expense of how respondents feel the government has handles matters on this occasion.
Ward highlighted: “The number of people awarding the government a poor score between one and three out of ten remains fixed at 40 per cent, as was the case in week 13. Those scoring the government a top score between eight and ten has dropped by one per cent to now stand at 17 per cent overall, with the one per cent carrying over to the middle tier score of four to seven, with 43 per cent now scoring the government in that range.
“This is not to be read as a great endorsement of the government’s handling of the crisis, but they seem to have arrested the slide that they were experiencing in previous weeks.”
Ward then offered an alternative conclusion as to why the number of respondents polling in as ‘concerned’ had once again risen, suggesting that the behaviour of other people as lockdown rules are being continually lifted could be responsible.
“If it is not government actions making people more worried, we can assume that the responsible factor is the number of people flouting social distancing rules at the beach and in other places. At FlyResearch, we believe that there is probably a group of people who, at this point, simply want the whole crisis to be over and for their lives to return to normal.
“On the other hand, we have another group of people who fear that we are not out of the woods yet and feel that wishing the crisis away is not really going to help, but rather make things worse by bringing an upsurge in cases.”
This conclusion is also supported by FlyResearch’s -100 to +100 speed tracker survey concerning the general consensus of the panel as to whether the government is moving too slowly or too quickly in its lifting of the lockdown. A -100 score would suggest the government is moving far too slowly and a +100 score would mean that restrictions are being lifted far too quickly
Introducing the latest figures for this question, Ward explained: “The relatively new speed question we first brought in for the eleventh week poll has also seen a reversing trend. The first recorded speed score three weeks ago was +26. Gradually, it seemed to be slowing down with a +24 score in week 12 and then a +19 score in our previous poll for week 13. Now, it has shot back up to +32.
“Clearly, when comparing this with the government support question, panellists do not directly - in the main at least - blame the government. The implication therefore is that it is other people’s disobedience of the rules that are causing people to become more concerned again.”
Ward concluded his latest analysis by addressing the new, unique questions brought into the latest tracker survey, which addressed the issue of looking after children during the crisis.
Among these numbers, 26 per cent of panel members reported that they had been looking after children during the pandemic at least on an occasion, either as a parent, grandparent, or teacher. 80 per cent that responded were looking after children as parents.
In terms of the activities undertaken when in the company of a child, 79 per cent of those looking after children reported that they were generally looking after the child, 75 per cent also said that they were keeping the child entertained, while 73 per cent said that at some point they had been involved in educating the child in question and assisting with remote learning.
Ward added: “As well as these questions, we also asked our panellists how they were finding the experience of looking after children more regularly. The simple answer to this seems to be that it has been a positive experience for most respondents.
“We included a mix of good and bad responses, and the positive ones came out strongly on top. 50 per cent agreed that the pandemic has been a fantastic opportunity to spend more time with the children. 46 per cent told us that they found it rewarding, and 42 per cent found it fun.
“On the flip-side, a mere eight per cent found it boring and seven per cent thought it was a mind-numbing experience. Only 12 per cent added that they found looking after the children during the pandemic a real chore, while 35 per cent told us that it was hard work doing so. Elsewhere, 26 per cent informed us that they found it fine initially but now feel that they have had enough of the experience.”
The final question enquired as to what activities the children have generally been engaged in during the pandemic. The most popular answers came in as ‘doing lessons’, with 59 per cent reporting that children were doing this quite often or more. 57 per cent reported ‘playing outside’ as a ‘quite often’ or above answer, while watching YouTube videos and playing video games both polled in as a ‘quite often’ response for 56 per cent of people.
Among the more interesting responses, there were 45 per cent of people who responded that their children would quite often engage in reading for entertainment purposes. Elsewhere, watching broadcast TV for educational purposes was popular among 15 per cent, and playing ‘old style’ games was a regular pastime for just 21 per cent.
In jest, Ward added that some of these figures had to be taken with a “pinch of salt.”
He said: “In spite of these numbers, there were only 23 per cent of the panel who felt that that children spend too much time on social media! As we know, what parents often think about this issue differs quite substantially from reality!”