News | Published June 15 2020

FlyResearch poll: week 11 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 eleventh wave of polling, released on June 11 and compiled from data collected on May 29.

The latest round saw some trends persist including the waning support for the government’s response to the crisis, while sentiments of anger and discontent have seemingly begun to grow, in line with a newly uncovered view that lockdown restrictions are being eased at too quick a rate.

Addressing the physical wellbeing of panel members to begin his latest analysis of the figures, Ward was pleased to inform us that there had been minimal changes from the previous week’s update.

Ward said: “It is encouraging that 52 per cent of our respondents declared themselves as having suffered no physical issues whatsoever and simultaneously we are seeing a very small drop in the number of panellists reporting mild symptoms, having dropped from eight per cent last week to seven per cent now.

“Meanwhile, our latest survey indicated that of the 3,000 panel members, eight have been tested and a further seven are suffering from a severe form of coronavirus, and we extend our thoughts to all of those who are suffering. Yet, we can take some encouragement from the fact that this number remains small.”

However, another trend which persisted according to Ward’s analysis was a marginal increase in the percentage of panellists reporting that they were experiencing emotional health troubles. This number has steadily risen from 31 per cent in the opening week of polling to 39 per cent in week ten, and 40 per cent in the latest survey, Ward highlighted.

He continued: “Much of the same is true of the question we asked our panel members about the wellbeing of their associates. Basically, the numbers are the same as last week among those who claim to know somebody who was suffered from mild Covid-19 symptoms or passed away as a result of the virus, with 18 per cent recorded for the former – the same as last week – and a one per cent fall in the latter.”

Similarities also remained from the previous week with regards to the employment status of respondents. There was a one per cent decrease [from 13 per cent in week ten to 12 per cent now] in the percentage of panellists furloughed, the number of respondents polling in as redundant increased to two per cent [having been at one per cent in the previous survey], while 38 per cent overall declared themselves as “not working”, an increase of one per cent on the previous week.

Ward said: “Considering that non-essential shops are due to open from June 15 in England, we hope to see a real shift in these figures in the weeks to come.”

Yet, despite consistency in some areas of the survey, others brought about more obvious changes.

Ward explained: “When we explore some of the emotions experienced by panel members, things begin to deviate from marginal changes. It seems that the trend of growth in the number of respondents polling in to tell us they are feeling ‘hopeful’ of the future has reversed. In the first wave of polling, sourced from data collected on March 27, 28 per cent of the panel were experiencing this emotion. By the seventh week of polling this had increased to 38 per cent before seeming to plateau. Now, we have seen a drop down to 32 per cent.

“Let us not forget that this is still ahead of our starting point, but the decline in this figure is a worrying sign.”

On the flipside, as the number of panellists polling in as ‘hopeful’ grew over previous weeks, there had been a decline in the number of respondents describing themselves as ‘scared’ [30 per cent in week one and 13 per cent in week nine] and ‘concerned’ [65 per cent in week one and 45 per cent in week nine]. However, as Ward pointed out, both figures have now plateaued at 14 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.

Elsewhere, sentiments of anger are clearly on the rise according to the statistics. Back in the opening week of the poll, a mere 11 per cent described themselves as ‘angry’ and this was consistent until week five. By week nine, this number had risen to 17 per cent, before rising to 22 per cent in week ten and 26 per cent in this most recent survey.

Addressing these growing emotions of discontent, Ward said: “There is real correlation with this development and the waning support for the UK government’s response to the pandemic. When we first started polling at the end of March, on our one to ten scale of one being tantamount to a ‘disaster’ and ten being ‘extremely positive’, 40 per cent of respondents scored the government’s response within the eight to ten range. At that time, just 12 per cent were scoring them between one and three.

“As of this week, that position has now reversed, almost completely, with 15 per cent scoring the government between eight and ten and 40 per cent between one and three. Consistent with last week, almost one fifth of the panel scored the UK government’s response a rock bottom score of one.”

As is the case with each weekly survey, FlyResearch put a new question before panel members, with this week’s possibly shedding further light on why support for the government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis is continuing to dwindle.

The question asked panellists whether they thought the government was moving too quickly or too slowly in lifting lockdown restrictions, and Ward suggested that this new question is one that the agency will persist with for as long as the survey continues to keep track of changing attitudes.

Presenting the responses to this question, Ward said: “One fifth of the panel informed us that they believed the government’s timing of easing restrictions was ‘just about right’. Another fifth of the panel thought that the restrictions were not being lifted quickly enough.

“Elsewhere, just nine per cent said that they thought restrictions were being lifted far too slowly, and ten per cent just slightly too slowly. This left a remaining 59 per cent of the panel who erred more toward thinking that restrictions are being lifted too rapidly. Of that remaining percentage, 22 per cent told us that the government is lifting restrictions much too quickly, with 37 per cent suggesting the lockdown was being eased just a little too quickly for their liking.”

In order to track this information more efficiently over the coming weeks, Ward outlined that FlyResearch would look to convert the percentages into a single ‘speed figure’ which will run from -100 [suggesting that everyone in the panel believed the government was moving far too slowly in lifting restrictions] through to +100 [representing that everyone in the panel believes restrictions were being lifted much too quickly].

Ward added: “Our first converted speed score came in at +26, suggesting that the consensus is that lockdown restrictons are being lifted a little too hastily.

“We will be keeping a close eye on how this figure changes with the lifting of more and more restrictions.”

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Authored by

Alexander Bridge-Wilkinson
Junior Editor
June 15 2020

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