News | Published May 05 2020

Fly Research poll: week five update

London based online market research agency FlyResearch has been issuing weekly polls to its research panel throughout the coronavirus pandemic to project how the outbreak has been impacting the daily life of UK citizens. In conversation with The Parliamentary Review, managing partner Greg Ward discusses the poll findings for the week commencing April 27, with the ongoing situation beginning to erode the respondents’ sense of trust in the government’s response to the crisis.

Introducing the latest figures from FlyResearch’s panel of respondents, Ward said: “Compared to the fourth week of data and indeed those before, we are firstly seeing a worsening in how people are feeling overall. The decline is by no means dramatic, but there is a slow erosion in the number of people feeling no impact from the crisis.

“If we look at the figures, 55 per cent of the panel said in week five that they had experienced no issues at all. When we published our findings for the first week of polling [the week commencing March 30], 60 per cent of people were saying that they had felt no issues, and this had dropped to 58 per cent last week, before dropping again."

This pattern has also been persistent with regards to the number of people with relatives and friends who had been suffering because of Covid-19, as Ward explained.

“In the first week of polling, 52 per cent of our respondents informed us that their friends and family had suffered no issues since the beginning of the pandemic. This figure has been on a downward trend since, and now seems to have accelerated, with the numbers down to 41 per cent in week five.

“In conjunction with this, the number of people who told us that they had been struggling emotionally has increased from 31 per cent in week one of polling, to 36 per cent in week five. On top of this, sadly and perhaps inevitably, we are also seeing a steady increase in the number of people who know somebody that has passed away as a result of the virus. Over weeks three and four, we have seen this number go up by two percentage points, a trend which has repeated in week five.

"10 per cent of our panel now know somebody who has passed away, and we offer our sincerest condolences to all those who have been impacted.”

On the other hand, there was some optimism to be drawn from the statistics concerning the emotions of individual panellists.

Outlining the numbers, Ward said: “On a much more positive note, we are seeing a continued, positive trend in the emotions our respondents are experiencing. When we first began this survey in the week commencing March 30, 65 per cent of panellists told us that they were ‘scared’ about the future, while 30 per cent described themselves as ‘desperate’. In comparison at that time, a mere 28 per cent of people polled informed us that they were ‘hopeful’ of the future.

“Over week four, commencing April 20, we noted that the rate of respondents polling in as ‘hopeful’ had been increasing week by week, and the other two more negative emotions appeared to be in decline. This trend seems to be continuing.”

Although week four’s poll will have come as pleasant reading to prime minister Boris Johnson and his top team, the latest figures will be less so, for the statistics have shown an erosion in the number of people who feel that the UK government is doing a good job in responding to the pandemic.

Outlining the results, Ward said: “Throughout this series of polls, the majority of respondents had scored the government’s performance in the middle, that is to say scoring them a five, six or seven out of ten, with one being negative and ten being positive. We also saw an exceptionally low rate of panellists who thought the government were performing badly. Yet, in the last week, this position has clearly altered.

“Those scoring the government a positive score of eight, nine or ten has fallen to 32 per cent, while the rate of individuals scoring the government a one, two or three has increased to almost 20 per cent.

"If we then look at the people scoring the government negatively in isolation, seven per cent of them scored the government a one out of ten for their response, indicating that they think the approach has been tantamount to a disaster.

“This is certainly a trend that we at FlyResearch will be keeping a close eye on when the week six results emerge.”

As has been the case in previous weeks, FlyResearch used its latest poll to ask a series of new, unique questions in the aim of revealing fresh insights. This week, newer issues explored included the number of panellists who deemed themselves as being ‘at high risk’ of Covid-19, and the number of those who have been wearing facial coverings such as protective masks.

Addressing the new set of data, Ward said: “The first new area of exploration concerned the number of people declaring themselves at high risk, or very high risk, from the Covid-19 virus. We factored out a small number of people who preferred not to answer, and from those left over we discovered that seven per cent of respondents described themselves as being at very high risk, with 27 per cent reporting themselves as simply being ‘at risk’.

“Furthermore, 17 per cent of panellists reported that they lived in the same household as a ‘very high risk’ individual, while 47 per cent described at least one member of their household as being within the ‘at risk’ group. This concludes that almost half of those surveyed should be taking additional precautions either on their own behalf, or for those with whom they live.”

Switching focus to the panel’s response on face covering, Ward explained that the motivation behind the question was the current lack of clarity in existing advice.

“Quite frankly, the advice on wearing face coverings of some description seems to be very confused. The World Health Organisation are saying that the benefits are not really there unless the person themselves has the virus, and even then, there might even be disadvantages. However, many other countries are issuing official advice to their citizens asking them to wear masks. With all of this going on in the background, I had expected this poll to throw up some fascinating results."

Moving on to present the results, Ward continued: “Setting aside 13 per cent of panellists who are simply not leaving their home at all during this time, 83 per cent of those remaining do not wear any form of facial covering when they leave their home, while six per cent use a home-made mask. Only 11 per cent of those who have been actively leaving their home have been wearing a manufactured mask in comparison.”

The reasons behind those decisions made for even more interesting reading.

Ward elaborated: “The most popular reason for not using a manufactured mask was because the current official advice is not to do so, with over half of the 83 per cent of people not wearing coverings citing that as their motivation. One third of respondents informed us that they thought wearing their own masks was selfish, since they are needed as vital resources for frontline workers, while a further third said that they were not wholly convinced that wearing them was actually effective.”

The next new question sought to focus on those who do choose to wear facial coverings and where they tend to use them. The data showed that the majority using masks and facial coverings [89 per cent] did so when going shopping. Only 19 per cent in comparison used some form of covering for work purposes.

Ward added: “An interesting fact we discovered is that almost four fifths of those polled who use facial coverings were doing so in order to protect themselves and others, but on the other hand, they don’t seem to replace them very often. A mere four per cent of respondents told us that they replace their masks more than once a day, and only 25 per cent replace their masks once per day.”

Another unique question that the week five poll put before its respondents enquired about which activities they would look to engage in once the lockdown lifted. An overwhelming majority of 71 per cent said they would look to visit friends and family as one of their first acts post-lockdown.

Addressing that revelation, Ward simply said: “It looks as though the point to take away from this data is that we’re all missing that human contact. Perhaps this crisis has reminded us that the internet cannot do everything?”

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Authored by

Alexander Bridge-Wilkinson
Junior Editor
May 05 2020

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