FlyResearch poll: week 15 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 fifteenth wave of the Covid-19 tracker survey, published on July 9 and sourced from data collected on July 3, and while wellbeing and government support has seen some marginal improvement, there were some unfortunate regressions seen elsewhere.
Following the previous week’s analysis, Ward began his breakdown of the latest figures by explaining that there was a slight, but hopefully genuine uplift in the panel’s overall responses concerning their personal health and that of their friends and family.
Explaining the uplift with cautious optimism, Ward said: “We do believe in this poll we are beginning to see a slight but very real improvement in responses concerning the personal wellbeing of our panellists and that of their friends and family.
“We have seen a very slight uptick in people who answered ‘no’ to our customary questions about whether they and they friends, family and associates had suffered from any medical or emotional issues. We are optimistic that this will persist and prove itself to be a real effect, and hopefully not a mere blip.”
Concerning the question as to whether respondents felt that their personal health had been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, 53 per cent of people polled in to say that they did not; a two per cent increase on the previous week’s responses. The number of individuals who in week 14 said that their emotional health had been affected [39 per cent] also dropped one per cent in the latest findings.
Regarding the wellbeing of the friends and family of panellists, there was a one per cent fall [17 per cent to 16 per cent] in the number reporting that their friends were suffering from mild symptoms of the virus. The number of people claiming to know somebody who has passed away from the virus has marginally increased to 13 per cent, having gone up by one per cent compared to the previous week.
The number of respondents saying that their friends and family have not suffered symptoms has increased by one per cent [to 40 per cent], and the number of panellists polling that they have associates who have suffered or are suffering from severe symptoms remains unmoved from last week at nine per cent.
Ward was keen to stress that any optimism should be tempered, mainly because there has been some regression in the positive shift in employment-related figures compared to the previous poll
Between the polling for weeks 13 and 14 of the Covid-19 tracker survey, there were some noticeable improvements in the employment figures. The percentage polling in to say they were employed jumped from 41 per cent to 43 per cent; those reporting that they had been furloughed decreased from 12 per cent to ten per cent, and the number of people saying they had been made redundant remained locked at one per cent.
However, in the latest crop of figures, the number of respondents reporting they are employed has dropped marginally to 42 per cent, the number of furloughed has increased to 11 per cent, while there has been a one per cent increase in those saying they are redundant, with this number having risen to two per cent.
Ward said: “Last week we hoped we were seeing the first green shoots of recovery. This week the numbers are still very slightly better than two weeks ago, but ever so slightly worse than last week. We should, therefore, temper our optimism, but let us see what next week’s figures bring.”
Moving on to present his analysis of data collected on individual emotions panel members were experiencing, Ward also had mixed news to share.
“In the eighth week of our survey, we saw the emotion ‘concerned’ reach an all time high of 48 per cent. It began to fall back from there, slowly at first, before slumping to 37 per cent in week 13. Last week it shot-up to 44 per cent and this week it has increased again to 47 per cent. It is short of the all-time high, but still remarkably close, which is a worrying trend.
“Fortunately, the ‘hopeful’ emotion has only fallen marginally in prevalence among our panel members, down to 33 per cent from 34 per cent last week. Surprisingly, however, respondents are not tending to be ‘angry’ about their circumstances. Back in week 11 we saw 26 per cent poll in with this emotion, which dropped to 23 per cent the following week. In week 13, it dropped once more to 19 per cent before returning to 23 per cent last week. Now it is back down to 19 per cent.”
The shift in emotions coincided with mixed news for the government in the poll, as Ward proceeded to explain.
“In our one to ten chart for ranking our panellists’ thoughts on the government’s response to the pandemic, the number of people scoring the government badly is down: 40 per cent of the panel scored the government between one and three last week, and this has now dropped to 38 per cent.
“Interestingly, however, the percentage of respondents giving a top three score of eight to ten has fallen from 17 per cent last week to 16 per cent now. It is therefore the middle ground - the four to seven range - which is on the up, having jumped two per cent up to 45 per cent overall.”
Another measure which FlyResearch has included in its more recent surveys is a -100 to +100 indicator chart which measures an overall score to determine whether the general feeling of the panel is that the government is moving too slowly in lifting lockdown restrictions, or too quickly.
Presenting this week’s numbers, Ward said: “Last week, we saw an increase in scores to +32, suggesting on average that the government is moving a little bit too quickly in its easing of lockdown. This week, we have seen another marginal increase in the ‘too quickly’ direction, with the score now standing at +33.”
Ward added that part of the reasoning for such sentiment could be explained by the responses to the unique question that FlyResearch included in the latest poll, which asked panellists how well they thought people were complying with Covid-19 safety guidelines.
Presenting the responses to the question, Ward elaborated: “22 per cent of our respondents informed us that they thought people were following regulations ‘very poorly’. A further 39 per cent thought the rules were generally being followed in a ‘quite poorly’ manner.
“Meanwhile, only nine per cent of the panel responded positively, with just two per cent saying regulations were being adhered to ‘very well’ and just seven per cent believed they were being followed ‘quite well’. 31 per cent took up the middle ground in saying that obedience of the rules was ‘okay on average’.”