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The public's current temperature

29 May 2020

By Ian Silvera, Account Director

As we hopefully head toward a much-awaited vaccine and lockdowns continue to ease, business leaders, policy makers and government’s need to take heed of what the public and consumers have to say, how they are acting and what they are thinking. 

There has been a deluge of opinion polls – some better than others – throughout the pandemic and this week, a week in which a major UCL study revealed that only half of the UK public was “strictly” sticking with Boris Johnson’s rules, was no different. 

The most eye-catching survey result came out of America, with a Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll finding that just 49% of respondents would plan to take a novel coronavirus vaccine. Around 20% of people (or roughly 50m of the voting age population) flat out said they wouldn’t. 

A poll commissioned by the EU Parliament, meanwhile, suggested that more than half (58%) of respondents across the economic and political bloc had experienced financial difficulties as a result of the crisis. Going further into the numbers, one in ten people surveyed said they had to borrow money from family or friends, highlighting the grim economic impact of lockdowns. 

The research also found that respondents in Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Spain were worse off, while people in Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Austria were in better financial positions. 

Finally, our colleagues at Newgate Research in Australia have published their latest findings. The Issues Tracking Report found, among other things, that the overall concern around Covid-19 was down slightly, with just under three quarters of (71%) of Australians registering their worries. Finances, however, remained top of the list as 78% of respondents said they had anxieties about the economy and 67% were concerned about job opportunities. 

Much like residents in the EU, 42% of people said their household is financially worse off due to the virus, although, interestingly, 15% (up from 11% since last week) of Australians said that it has improved. 

Unfortunately for them and us, we can’t poll our way out of this one.