Publication - Research and analysis

Public attitudes to Coronavirus: January update

Published: 29 Jan 2021

This report includes some high level findings from recent polling work on public attitudes to the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland.

Public attitudes to Coronavirus: January update
6. Views on current and future measures

6. Views on current and future measures

Current restrictions

Finally, surveys have examined people's attitudes towards support for Coronavirus measures and future plans. This section summarises polling data related to public confidence in current restriction measures and attitudes towards vaccination for Covid-19.

The protection levels approach was introduced in Scotland on 2 November 2020 and is explained in Scotland's Strategic Framework.[12]. As shown in Fig 36, since it was introduced, around two thirds of respondents agreed that the levels system is a good idea.[13] The majority are able to identify the protection level of their own area, with awareness higher in December than in mid-November. The proportion who feel like the restrictions are working in Scotland increased in early December, from a half to three fifths, then fell back to two fifths in mid-December.

Figure 36: Proportion who agreed with statements shown, and correctly identified own level

Those who can identify level was 76% in mid Nov and 89% at most recent time point

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1002-1020)

When asked about the level of restrictions currently in place in their area, around half reported it to be 'about right'. Between early November and early December there was an increase in the proportion who reported it as too strict, from just under a quarter, to just over three in ten. Correspondingly, the proportion reporting the level as 'too relaxed' declined during this time. However, in mid-December the proportion who thought they were too relaxed increased slightly.

Figure 37: Whether respondents think restrictions in their area are too relaxed, strict or 'about right'

13%-21% much/slightly too relaxed, 49%-52% about right, 24%-31% slightly/much too strict

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1009-1020)

Support for measures

Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with statements about the way restrictions were being handled in Scotland. Figure 38 shows that, during November and December, the majority agreed that they support the way restrictions are being handled, despite some fluctuation. Support for Scotland handling restrictions in a different way to the UK have likewise fluctuated, with between two thirds and seven in ten in agreement over this period.

Figure 38: Proportion who agreed/strongly agreed with the statements shown

Support handling restrictions in Scotland increased 62% to 67%, differently to the UK ranged 65%-71%

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1002-1020)

Covid-19 vaccine

Using a scale of 0 ('extremely unlikely') to 10 ('extremely likely'), respondents were asked how likely or unlikely they are to be vaccinated for COVID-19 when a vaccine becomes available to them. The proportion who reported they are 'extremely likely' to be vaccinated increased between mid-November and the end of December, from two fifths to three fifths. The proportion who reported they are unlikely (with a score of 0-2) declined slightly at the end of November but has remained stable since at around one in ten.

Figure 39: Likelihood of being vaccinated for COVID-19

Those who reported 8-10 likelihood increased from 57% to 71%, “don’t know” ranged from 5% to 11%

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1002-1009)

Respondents were also asked whether they agreed or disagreed with statements about the Covid-19 vaccine. As shown in Figure 40, seven in ten agreed that the vaccine has given them more optimism, however, more than three quarters agreed that they are worried that people will start to break the rules. A small proportion (around one in six) agreed that they are not convinced the vaccine will work, although over half disagreed with this statement.

Figure 40: Proportion who agreed/disagreed with the statements shown

77%-79% worry it will take time and people will break rules, 16% are not convinced the vaccine works

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey (8-9 Dec). Base (n=1002)