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 continuation of his analyses previously reported by The Parliamentary Review, managing partner Greg Ward discusses the findings from the eighteenth wave of the Covid-19 tracker survey with the Leaders Council, published on July 30 and sourced from data collected on July 24.
In the latest survey, while the physical and emotional wellbeing of the respondents has largely been consistent in recent weeks, the percentage of those polled who know somebody to have taken a coronavirus test looks to be on the rise.
Commencing his customary analysis of the numbers, Ward said: “Once more, there is very little to report on our first two questions concerning the health and wellbeing of our panel members and their associates. Eight per cent of respondents have informed us that they have suffered from mild symptoms of Covid-19, consistent with the previous week, while the percentage of people telling us that their emotional health is suffering as a result of the pandemic has risen by one per cent to 39 per cent. Elsewhere, the number of people reporting that they have suffered severe symptoms of coronavirus has marginally dropped from 53 per cent to 52 per cent between this week and last.
“The number of panellists informing us that their associates are not suffering from any physical or emotional ill effects of the pandemic has also increased marginally to 40 per cent this week, while 28 per cent say that the emotional health of their friends and family has been affected - which is consistent with the previous two polls. 16 per cent - as was the case last week - reported to have known associates suffering from mild Covid-19 symptoms.
“The most notable change here can be seen in the percentage of respondents who know somebody that has been tested, which is now up to 14 per cent. Back in week one of the poll sourced toward the end of March, a mere four per cent of respondents informed us that they knew someone to have taken a test. It went up reasonably quickly to ten per cent in week seven of the survey, and then has slowly grown from there. The 14 per cent logged in this most recent survey is the highest it has ever been.”
Minimal changes were also seen in the tracker survey’s question regarding the employment status of respondents. Consistent with the previous three weeks of polling, just two per cent reported that they had been made redundant. Otherwise, 42 per cent [a one per cent decrease on the previous week’s poll] reported that they were still employed, with the same trend seen in the number of people replying that they were not working [down to 37 per cent from 38 per cent previously]. The number of panellists reporting that they had been furloughed increased by one per cent [up to 11 per cent] compared to the previous week.
Ward commented: “The lack of change here is both positive and negative news wrapped up in one. It would be a major boost if we did begin to see some real improvement here with businesses now beginning to reopen more, but at least we are not seeing a negative trend emerging.”
The fourth question in the Covid-19 tracker survey quizzes panel members on the specific emotions they are experiencing at different stages of the pandemic, and there had been some changes of note in this area which Ward was keen to highlight.
He said: “An interesting thing we have seen this week is that the prevalence of the ‘pragmatic’ sentiment among our panellists has grown by a couple of percentage points to 24 per cent from last week to this, although it has been as high as 25 per cent previously.
“Unfortunately, the ‘concerned’ emotion is still the dominant one among respondents, registering at 45 per cent again this week, consistent with the previous week but down from the 47 per cent registered in the two polls prior to then. Meanwhile, the rate of those polling in as feeling ‘hopeful’ is also slightly down, dropping to 33 per cent from 34 per cent last week.”
Throughout the Covid-19 tracker survey to date, FlyResearch has sought views from the panel as to how well they feel that the government has responded to the pandemic, by means of a one to ten survey with a score of one being tantamount to a disaster and a score of ten being a positive response.
Presenting this week’s results, Ward explained: “Our panel’s views on the government’s handling of the situation remain unchanged compared to last week. 38 per cent of the panel continue to score the government a bottom three score, indicating disapproval of its response. 44 per cent persisted with scoring the government within the four to seven mid-range, while 18 per cent gave them a top three score of eight to ten.
“However, what has changed is our panel’s view on the speed with which the government are moving in easing lockdown restrictions.”
Back in the eleventh week of the tracker survey using data collected on June 5, FlyResearch devised a means of calculating the panel’s overall view on whether the government was moving too quickly or too slowly in lifting the UK lockdown by generating a -100 to +100 score, with the negative margins representing the view that the government was not moving quickly enough, and a score in the plus range suggesting restrictions were being eased too swiftly.
Ward continued: “In week 11 when we began recording this measure, our calculated score was +26 which suggested respondents felt on the whole that the government was moving too quickly. We saw this improve by dropping to +19 in week 13, before it increased into the +30 range which has remained consistent over the last four weeks of polling.
“However, we have seen this drop right down to +21 in the latest round, which is not quite as low as it has been previously, but it is not too far away. It will be interesting to gauge how this measure changes over the course of the next few weeks considering the growing concerns over a second wave of cases.”
In the latest survey, FlyResearch’s most recent unique survery question put the issue of vaccines to its panel members.
Elaborating on the newest question to feature in the poll, Ward said: “We looked to ask respondents what they would do if one of the Covid-19 vaccines is eventually proven to work. Included in the survey were various ‘I would take the vaccine’ sort of responses, accompanied by four different answers suggesting that one would not seek to have the vaccine.
“The first thing to report is a major split of 87 per cent in favour of taking the vaccine, measured up against 13 per cent in opposition of it. If typical of the population as a whole, the figure of those who would seek out the vaccine is a little higher than the 80 per cent generally quoted to make so-called ‘herd immunity’ effective: the point at which it becomes possible to completely eradicate the virus.”
Among those figures, there were 22 per cent of panellists who reported that they would “probably” get a vaccine should one be proven to work, and 20 per cent who suggested that would most likely be happy to receive the vaccine after waiting for a period of time before seeking to be administered with it.
Of the 13 per cent who indicated that they would not like to receive a working vaccine, there were two per cent who stated that they avoid all vaccines in any case, while another two per cent suggested they would not receive a vaccine exclusively for coronavirus.
Elsewhere, four per cent polled in to say that they are unlikely to want to receive a coronavirus vaccine and finally a further five per cent who would wait for a period of time before deciding, but aired more towards the idea that they probably would not go through with getting it.