FlyResearch poll: week 13 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 thirteenth wave of the Covid-19 tracker survey, published on June 25 and sourced from data collected on June 19.
Beginning his analysis in an upbeat manner, Ward told that the latest round of figures highlighted some tangible positives, not just in the physical and emotional wellbeing of panel members, but also a turnaround in the levels of approval for the UK government’s strategy for handling the pandemic.
Ward said: “There is some positive news for our customary first three questions in that there are no changes of real significance in terms of how our respondents are feeling themselves, how their associates are feeling and in terms of their job status. There is the odd percentage point up or down in areas, but they are very marginal.”
For the opening question about the wellbeing of the panel members themselves, consistent with the previous week, 53 per cent report that they have suffered no coronavirus symptoms at all throughout the pandemic, 39 per cent polled in once more to say that they were struggling emotionally as a result of the crisis, while the number of panellists having suffered mild symptoms of the virus increased marginally to eight per cent.
Concerning the wellbeing of the friends and family of respondents, those reporting to say they knew somebody who has passed away has increased marginally to 13 per cent.
Meanwhile, as was the case in week 12, 17 per cent claimed to know someone who has suffered mild symptoms of the virus, while 29 per cent once more said that the emotional health of someone they know had been impacted. The number of people polling in to say that their associates had suffered no ill effects from the pandemic enjoyed a marginal one per cent rise compared to the previous week, now standing at 39 per cent.
Elsewhere, the percentage of panel members furloughed remained at 12 per cent, while 41 per cent remain employed. There was another one per cent increase in the number of individuals reporting their businesses to have closed [up to four per cent], while the number of people not working has now dropped by one per cent, now standing at 37 per cent.
Shifting focus to the survey’s customary fourth question about specific emotions respondents are experiencing, Ward was eager to point out that there was some positive feedback.
“Back in week one when we recorded data right at the end of March, 65 per cent of the panel informed us that they were ‘concerned’ about the future. We saw this number fall quickly down to 47 per cent by week six of the poll in early May, and then it seemed to plateau from there. This week, we have seen the number drop once again, standing at 37 per cent.
“This is a significant change because ‘concerned’ is no longer the most prominent emotion in light of this decline. It is replaced as the dominant emotion by ‘hopeful’, with the number of panel members polling in as such now standing at 39 per cent having steadily grown from 28 per cent in week one.
“The percentage of respondents feeling hopeful has actually gone from 32 per cent in week 11, to 34 per cent last week and now it is up to 39 per cent. This consistent trend of growth certainly seems like positive news”.
The positive news in the emotions data continued to be reflected in the trends associated with the word “angry”. That had gained traction from 11 per cent in the opening week of polling to 26 per cent in the eleventh week back in early June. Dropping to 23 per cent in the twelfth week poll, the trend of decline has persisted, with the number of panellists reporting they are feeling angry once more down to 20 per cent.
Elaborating on these figures further, Ward highlighted: “We previously commented that there could be a link between the emotions question and the later question ranking the performance of the government in responding to the crisis on our one to ten scale. Interestingly, these numbers make for much more comfortable reading for Boris Johnson and his allies this week.
“The number of panellists scoring the government a top three score between eight and ten has increased to 18 per cent, compared to 16 per cent last week. Moreover, it has come from an equally small decline in the number of people scoring them between one and three. However, it should be pointed out that - at circa 40 per cent - this is still more than twice as many as scored them top three”.
Ward moved swiftly on to FlyResearch’s government “speed score” survey, which seeks to track the general consensus among the panel on whether the government is moving too quickly or too slowly in its easing of lockdown restrictions, and the shift in the other figures once more translated to more positive reading for the government here.
Ward explained: “As discussed in previous weeks, the scale spans from -100, suggesting the government is moving far too slowly in easing lockdown, to +100 which would indicate that the feeling is that the government is moving too quickly. When we first introduced this question in our eleventh week poll which we collected in May and presented in early June, the score of +26 suggested that a significant number of our respondents were concerned that the government was moving too swiftly.
“The twelfth week score of +24 demonstrated a minor improvement, and now in this week’s poll we have seen this fall even further to +19. We can conclude, therefore, that the shift in these figures and the others suggests that matters are moving in the right direction, even if the shift is not anything dramatic yet. We can, however, be cautiously optimistic perhaps.”
Ward concluded his latest analysis by presenting the figures from the latest batch of unique questions for the thirteenth week poll, which focused on retail, panellists’ plans to go on holiday in 2020, whether respondents felt that coronavirus remained a threat, and finally whether they felt that shutting the economy had been the right course of action to take.
Ward said: “For those residing in England, extra stores opened up this week, so we put the question to the panel as to whether they had either used them or attempted to. The simple answer to this question seems to be ‘no’: just six per cent had tried or succeeded in purchasing from a clothing store they’d visited, while for electronics stores this number stood at two per cent. Of the other non-essential stores, ten per cent of the panel polled in to say they had used them or attempted to.
“We also put to the panel a question about whether they were thinking about a summer holiday in 2020 and once more it does not seem a likely outcome. 73 per cent reported that they definitely will not be going away, with a further ten per cent returning a ‘possibly not’ response. A mere two per cent thought that they definitely would be going on a summer holiday, while seven per cent noted it a possibility.”
Furthermore, there were similar majority responses to the final two questions. 72 per cent of panel members were definite in their view that coronavirus remained a real threat, compared with 16 per cent who reported that the virus was still a ‘possible threat’. Only two per cent of those polled responded by saying that the virus was “definitely not” a threat at this stage.
Meanwhile, an overwhelming 82 per cent of the panel fed back that shutting down the economy was the right course of action in responding to the pandemic [62 per cent ‘definitely’ and 20 per cent ‘possibly’], measuring against just nine per cent of respondents who said that shutting the economy down was the wrong decision, within which four per cent said that the shutdown ‘definitely’ should not have happened.