Publication - Research and analysis

Public attitudes to coronavirus: October update

Published: 9 Oct 2020

High level findings from recent polling work on public attitudes to the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland.

28 page PDF

2.2 MB

28 page PDF

2.2 MB

Contents
Public attitudes to coronavirus: October update
1. Wellbeing

28 page PDF

2.2 MB

1. Wellbeing

Levels of anxiety, happiness and loneliness

The Coronavirus pandemic is having a wide range of impacts on people's daily life and personal wellbeing. This section presents polling data used to monitor how Coronavirus is impacting upon people's mental and physical health, financial stability and perceptions of local neighbourhood.

To measure levels of anxiety and happiness respondents were asked how anxious and how happy they felt 'yesterday', on a scale of 0 to 10.[4] From July 28-29 these questions were asked on a fortnightly basis. As shown in Figure 1, anxiety levels were high at the beginning of lockdown and declined in April. They have remained fairly stable since June, with a small increase since the end of July. Similarly, low happiness was highest during lockdown, decreased in April, and has since remained fairly stable.

Figure 1: How anxious/happy respondents felt yesterday on a scale of 0-10
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=912-1048)

Chart Description

This figure shows a line graph with two lines, from 24-25 March to 25-26 August. One line shows the proportion of respondents who have felt high levels of anxiety (a score of 6 to 10 out of 10); this reduced from the end of March to the end of April and has remained stable since, with 38% reporting high anxiety at the most recent time point. The second line shows the proportion of respondents who have felt low levels of happiness (a score of 0 to 4 out of 10); this reduced from the end of March to the end of April and has remained stable since, with 18% reporting low happiness at the most recent time point.

To understand social isolation, respondents were also asked how much of the time during the past week they had felt lonely. Loneliness levels were previously tracked using the Ipsos MORI polling survey from late May until mid-July[5], before moving this question to the YouGov survey. Data shown in Figure 2 is since the move to the YouGov survey and shows around one in seven respondents felt lonely 'all/almost all or most of the time' in the past week at the end of July and August, while around half have reported feeling lonely 'none/ almost none of the time'.

Figure 2: How often respondents felt lonely during the past week
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1001-1012)

Chart Description

This figure shows a line graph with three lines, from the 14-15 July to 25-26 August. One line shows the proportion of respondents who have felt lonely none/almost none of the time; this has remained stable, with 53% reporting this at the most recent time point. The second line shows the proportion of respondents who have felt lonely some of the time; this has reduced since the middle of July, with 29% reporting this at the most recent time point. The third line shows the proportion of respondents who have felt lonely all/almost all or most of the time; this has remained stable, with 15% reporting this at the most recent time point.

Coping, worries and optimism

Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statements about worry and optimism. Figure 3 shows that the majority of respondents have agreed or strongly agreed that they feel worried about the Coronavirus situation since the end of March. However, worry about the Coronavirus situation decreased over time, and the proportion who strongly agreed with the statement has been between one in five and one in seven since mid-July.

Figure 3: Proportion who agreed/strongly agreed with the statement 'I feel worried about the Coronavirus situation'
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=912-1048)

Chart Description

This figure shows a bar chart with 23 bars, from 24-25 March to 25-26 August. Each bar shows the proportion of respondents who strongly agree and tend to agree with the statement ‘I feel worried about the coronavirus situation’. The proportion of respondents agreeing with this statement has decreased since 24-25 March, with 64% reporting this at the most recent time point.  

Figure 4 shows that levels of optimism that things will start getting better soon increased between April and the end of June but declined in July. Levels of optimism in the most recent waves are similar to those at the beginning of lockdown, with between one quarter and one third agreeing that they are sure things will start to get better soon in August.

Figure 4: Proportion who agreed/strongly agreed with the statement 'I'm sure things will start to get better soon'
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=912-1048)

Chart Description

This figure shows a bar chart with 23 bars, from 24-25 March to 25-26 August. Each bar shows the proportion of respondents who strongly agree and tend to agree with the statement ‘I’m sure things will start to get better soon’. The proportion of respondents agreeing with this statement has fluctuated since 24-25 March, with 32% reporting this at the most recent time point.

Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statements shown in Figure 5. Only one of these statements was part of the latest survey wave (Aug 25-26). The proportion who agreed that they feel like they are coping okay with the Coronavirus situation has remained high and stable since the end of April, while the proportion who agreed that they feel worried about the long-lasting effect of the restrictions on jobs and economy has increased slightly.

Figure 5: Proportion who agreed/strongly agreed with each statement
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1001-1048)

Chart Description

This figure shows a line graph with two lines. One line shows the proportion of respondents who agreed or strongly agreed with the statement ‘I am worried about the long-lasting effect of the restrictions on jobs and our economy’ from 21-22 April to 18-19 August. This has increased slightly since 21-22 April, with 81% reporting this at the most recent time point. The second line shows the proportion of respondents who agreed or strongly agreed with the statement ‘I feel like I’m coping okay during the current Coronavirus situation’ from 21-22 April to 25-26 August. This has remained stable, with 74% reporting this at the most recent time point.

Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statements shown in Figure 6 regarding risk of an outbreak of new cases and worry about going back into lockdown. The proportion of respondents who believe there is a risk of a local outbreak of new cases has increased from mid-July to early August, then remained stable since, while the proportion worried about having to go back into lockdown has remained fairly stable.

Figure 6: Proportion who agreed/strongly agreed with each statement
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1001-1012)

Chart Description

This figure shows a line graph with two lines. One line shows the proportion of respondents who agreed or strongly agreed with the statement ‘I worry about having to go back into lockdown if we get another spike in new cases’ from 21-22 July to 25-26 August. This has reduced slightly since 21-22 July, with 63% reporting this at the most recent time point. The second line shows the proportion of respondents who agreed with the statement ‘I believe there is a real risk of an outbreak of new cases in my local area’ from 21-22 July to 25-26 August. This has increased since 21-22 July, with 53% reporting this at the most recent time point.

Financial impacts

Respondents were asked what level of threat they think Coronavirus poses to their job. Threat to 'your job or business' was previously tracked using the Ipsos MORI polling survey between late March and mid-July. [6] As shown in Figure 7, the proportion of respondents perceiving a 'high' or 'very high' threat to 'your job' started at around a quarter, and is now just above a fifth at the latest wave.

Figure 7: Proportion who consider there to be a very high/high threat to their job from Coronavirus
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base: Scottish Adults who are working or furloughed or due to return to work after shielding (n=425-461)

Chart Description

This figure shows a line graph with one line. This line shows the proportion of respondents who considered there to be a very high or high threat to their job from 14-15 July to 25-26 August. This has remained stable, with 22% reporting this at the most recent time point.

Respondents were asked how concerned they were, when thinking ahead one month, about the statements shown in Figure 8 regarding household finances. The proportions of respondents who were 'extremely' or 'very' concerned about these three statements have stayed stable between 11% and 14%.

Figure 8: Proportions who answered extremely/very concerned about each statement [7]
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1004-1012)

Chart Description

This figure shows a bar chart with three sets of three bars. One set shows the proportion of respondents who were very concerned or concerned ‘that I won’t be able to pay my bills’ from 28-29 July to 25-26 August; this has remained stable, with 12% reporting this at the most recent time point. The second set shows the proportion of respondents who were very concerned or concerned ‘that I won’t have a job’ from 28-29 July to 25-26 August; this has remained stable, with 14% reporting this at the most recent time point. The third set shows the proportion of respondents who were very concerned or concerned ‘that I won’t be able to provide for my household’ from 28-29 July to 25-26 August; this has remained stable, with 13% reporting this at the most recent time point.

Health impacts

To understand the potential impact of Coronavirus on non-Coronavirus related health issues, respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed that they would avoid going to a hospital or GP practice if they had a medical concern not related to Coronavirus. As shown in Figure 9 the proportion of people agreeing that they would avoid GPs or hospital for immediate health concerns not related to Coronavirus has decreased, first sharply, then steadily, from a high of 45% in late April to 28% at the end of August.

Figure 9: Proportion who agreed/disagreed that 'I would avoid going to a hospital or GP practice at the moment even if I had an immediate medical concern (not related to Coronavirus)'
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1001-1048)

Chart Description

This figure shows a line graph with three lines. One line shows the proportion of respondents who disagreed that ‘I would avoid going to a hospital or GP practice at the minute even if I had an immediate medical concern (not related to coronavirus)’ from 21-22 April to 25-26 August; this has increased since 21-22 April with 56% reporting this at the most recent time point. The second line shows the proportion of respondents who agreed with this statement across the same time period; this has decreased since 21-22 April, with 28% reporting this at the most recent time point. The third line shows the proportion of respondents who responded ‘neither’ to this statement across the same time period; this has remained stable since 21-22 April, with 16% reporting this at the most recent time point.

Respondents were asked how similar or different their current daily life is to life before the coronavirus pandemic. Figure 10 shows that around three quarters of respondents see their life as 'very' or 'quite' different to how it was before the pandemic.

Figure 10: How similar or different respondents' daily lives are currently to before the Coronavirus pandemic
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1001-1011)

Chart Description

This figure shows a bar chart with four bars. Each bar shows the proportion of respondents who reported whether their daily lives are currently ‘very similar now to how it was before’, ‘quite similar now to how it was before’, ‘quite different now to how it was before’, ‘very different now to how it was before’, or ‘don’t know’. Data is shown from 21-22 July to 18-19 August. The proportion of respondents who reported each of these options has remained fairly stable since 21-22 July, with 5% ‘very similar now to how it was before’, 21% ‘quite similar now to how it was before’, 38% ‘quite different now to how it was before’, 33% ‘very different now to how it was before’, and 3% ‘don’t know’ at the most recent time point.

Neighbourhood experiences

Respondents were asked about their sense of belonging to their neighbourhood, and how safe they feel in their neighbourhood. Levels of community activity and support were previously tracked in the Ipsos MORI survey. While direct comparisons cannot be made between the surveys, Table 1 shows in that both surveys the majority of respondents indicated that they feel safe, and a sense of belonging; however both also demonstrated that a sizeable minority did not feel belonging.

Table 1: Proportion who answered 'very' or 'fairly' about the two questions about neighbourhood safety and belonging

Statements July 10-13 Aug 11-12
How safe do you feel walking alone in your neighbourhood after dark? Would you say you feel...? 68% 73%
How strongly do you feel you belong to your immediate neighbourhood? 58% 60%

Sources: Ipsos MORI July 10-13 Base (n=500). YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1012)


Contact

Email: covid-19.behaviours@gov.scot