FlyResearch poll: week 20 update

Published by Scott Challinor on August 20th 2020, 7:00am

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. This week, managing partner Greg Ward discusses the findings from the twentieth wave of the Covid-19 tracker survey with the Leaders Council, published on August 12 and sourced from data collected on August 7.

Pleasingly for Ward, he was able to begin his analysis of the figures with the revelation that the figures concerning the direct effects of Covid-19 on the health of panel members continued to show no real movement from the previous week. There was a two per cent increase in the number of people reporting that their emotional health was being affected by the pandemic [37 per cent to 39 per cent], and otherwise the percentage of respondents reporting to have suffered mild Covid-19 symptoms remains at eight per cent, consistent with the previous three surveys. Individuals reporting that they have not experienced symptoms dropped by one per cent from the previous week, standing at 52 per cent now.

Concerning the health of friends and family associated with panel members, there appeared to be some minor deterioration in emotional health.

Ward highlighted: “The percentage of panel members reporting that their friends or family are struggling emotionally has risen three per cent from last week to 31 per cent now. While the percentage of individuals reporting their associates to have suffered from severe symptoms of the virus remain subdued, the number of people reporting that those they know have not suffered symptoms has dropped by two per cent from last week to stand at 38 per cent now.”

Fortunately, the slight drop in the percentage not displaying symptoms here is not correlating with an increase elsewhere, since the numbers of people claiming to know somebody with mild symptoms or know someone who has passed away as a result of Covid-19 remain fixed at 17 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively, as was the case in the previous week.

Moving on to address the employment status of panel members, Ward explained that there remained little change, but he is still expecting a shift in these figures over the coming weeks.

Ward said: “As was the case last week, the employment situation remains similar with no real changes over the last month. 39 per cent [up from 37 per cent last week] said that they are not working, just two per cent say that they are redundant [as has been the case for six consecutive weeks now] and 11 per cent say they are furloughed [which has gone up one per cent since last week]. There has also been from last week to this a two per cent drop in the number of people saying they are still employed, which stands now at 41 per cent.

“However, with the relaxation of some rules many more businesses are reopening, so we are hopeful that we will see some more positive changes in the next few weeks, but they may be offset by some businesses going into administration or unable to re-open.

“In fact, just recently, after the official reopening of restaurants and cafes, we noticed that some remain closed, simply because it is not viable for them to operate with reduced numbers of customers allowed inside. Hopefully, the Eat-Out to Help-Out scheme might provide a much-needed boost.”

Interestingly, although movement in terms of health, wellbeing and employment figures remained at a minimum, there has been some positive movement in the individual emotions that respondents have been experiencing.

Elaborating on this, Ward said: “49 per cent of respondents have told us that they continue to feel ‘concerned’, which is still high but nevertheless a decline on the 51 per cent recorded in the previous survey. This is matched by a slight rise in those saying they feel ‘hopeful’, which is up by three per cent to 27 per cent this week.”

Regarding the panel’s opinion of the government’s response to the pandemic, there is once again little movement, which has been the case over the previous four weekly surveys.

Measuring the responses via a one to ten survey, with one representing ‘a disastrous response’ and ten representing an ‘effective’ response, a minority 16 per cent continue to score the government in the eight to ten range as was the case in the previous survey, while the majority occupy the middle ground, with 43 per cent scoring the government’s pandemic response in the four to seven range, a fall of two per cent on the previous week.

The two per cent has correlated with a two per cent rise in the number of panellists scoring the government’s response in the bottom three, which now stands at 41 per cent. 18 per cent scored the government a one, which is the largest single percentage of any one number.

The answer behind this marginal shift may be clear in the responses to the FlyResearch speed survey question, which measures whether the panel feels the government is moving too slowly or too quickly in easing restrictions.

Discussing these figures, Ward pointed out: “More of our respondents feel that the government is moving a little too slowly in relaxing measures, which has gone up by three per cent to 13 per cent compared to last week. However, this is measured against 18 per cent who feel restrictions are being lifted far too quickly and a further 31 per cent who feel the lockdown is being lifted a little too hastily for their liking. A sizeable 31 per cent do feel that the lifting of restrictions is coming about in just the right manner, though.”

Meanwhile, the overall -100 to +100 speed survey, which measures the panel’s overall view on whether restrictions are being lifted too quickly or too slowly, returned a score of +20, which is down from +24 the previous week. It is the second lowest score closest to the ideal return of zero [with the lowest being +19 recorded in week 13 of the survey], so these figures are moving in the right direction according to Ward.

Ward concluded his weekly analysis by presenting the responses to the one-off question in the latest survey, which this week focused on the return of schools in September.

Ward said: “We asked everyone to answer this survey on the panel, rather than just school-age children, simply because we can all be affected if infection rates increase due to large numbers of children mixing in closed environments. Granted, schools are taking measures to minimise the spread by creating school year bubbles, limiting movement around the school, enhanced sanitising, removing items that are hard to clean, not sharing stationary and other items. But there is a limit of what can be achieved.

“In terms of responses, 41 per cent of respondents support schools reopening fully, while just ten per cent think they should remain closed until the virus is eradicated or a vaccine is found.

“30 per cent think that schools should open but believe that teacher and pupil attendance should be optional. The remaining still support returning to school but with some flexibility, in that 14 per cent say that schools should open but pupils and parents only should have the right to optional attendance, while four per cent believe schools should open and be compulsory for pupils to attend but teachers should have the right to not go into work.”

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Authored By

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
August 20th 2020, 7:00am

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