We’ve nearly made it. The end of 2020 is just a few weeks away and a vaccine is on the horizon – it would appear that the end of the pandemic is getting closer. At least that’s what we’re all hoping for once we get this bleak looking winter out of the way.
I thought it would be an appropriate time to reflect on the views of our Viewsbank members, and how they may or may not have changed over the last few months as the situation has developed.
As you’re likely aware, we have been running some Covid-19 related questions in our weekly Omnibus throughout the course of the year, in order to gain an understanding of certain aspects of 2020 life, including how the government has handled events so far, and the level of concern among our members.
There have been lots of ups and downs throughout the course of the year – mostly downs unfortunately – although things did appear to take a turn for the better in early summer, when the first lockdown was gradually eased and cases of Covid-19 appeared to be falling. I think of the all the “buzzwords” we’ve seen throughout the year so far, the one that most sums it up for me is probably uncertainty. That word has been bounced around quite a bit and it would appear with good reason.
If you can remember back to the early part of the year when this all began and the first lockdown was looming, absolutely nobody appeared to have any idea what was going on. Initially it was thought there would be disruption for around 3 months, which seems completely laughable now after what we’ve all been through. We then had Boris telling us that he hoped for “significant normality by Christmas” and now we’re being told that “significant normality” is more likely to be around Easter time. Combine that with everything that has been cancelled this year (and next) and that word “uncertainty” seems to ring more and more true.
Let’s look back then at some of stats from our Omnibus surveys over the last few months. I’m comparing the number from three different surveys; one in early May, during the first lockdown, one from July as restrictions were easing and also the most recent one from last week. For reference, our Omnibus surveys a nationally representative sample of approximately 1,000 people.
One of the first questions we ask in our Covid section of the Omnibus is how concerned our members are about the pandemic. We saw that back in April some 82% of you were either concerned or very concerned about the pandemic. There were a lot of unknowns back then, and indeed unbeknown to us we were still very much in the early days, and so a high level of concern makes total sense. Compare that to 77% (July) and 76% (November), and you can see that while concern has dropped a little amongst our members, it’s still at a fairly high level despite a vaccine apparently being around the corner. The slight drop off could come from perhaps those who at least feel they know what to expect with the pandemic having gone on as long as it has.
Another interesting question to look at is around the Government’s response to the pandemic – specifically regarding how the Government has dealt with the UK outbreak. We asked you to rank the Government on this from “Not impressed at all” (1), to “Very impressed” (5). The average score back in May was 3.3, so the majority of people thinking the Government had done an OK job up to that point – perhaps not a brilliant one compared with the likes of New Zealand, but also not too terrible. Fast forward a few months and the average score dips to 2.6 (July) and then 2.4 (November), so much closer to “Unimpressed”. While the Government’s score hasn’t exactly fallen off a cliff then, it certainly appears to be heading in the wrong direction as time passes, with more and more of our members feeling dissatisfied with the way things are being handled.
One thing that is more certain though, is that we’ll continue to monitor the situation through our Omnibus surveys as the pandemic develops and (hopefully) draws to a close next year.
In the meantime, we’d love to hear more from you and specifically your thoughts on how concerned you are about the pandemic, the Government’s response and how your opinion has changed throughout the course of the year. Let us know in the comments below – we can’t wait to hear from you!