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Public attitudes to coronavirus: May summary

This report includes some high level findings from recent polling work on public attitudes to the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland. A report covering earlier survey work was published on 8 May 2020.

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6. Looking forward

Lifting restrictions

Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with two statements about lifting restrictions. Over the past three survey waves, there has been an increase in the proportions agreeing with each statement. In the most recent wave, over half agreed that businesses need to reopen as soon as possible, however 22% disagreed and 24% felt neutral. Just over a third agreed that 'it's time for us to be allowed back out and about', 37% disagreed and 27% felt neutral.

Figure 20: Proportions who agreed/agreed strongly with the two statements shown about lifting restrictions
This graph shows the proportion of respondents who agreed or agreed strongly with two statements shown at five time points: April 28-29, May 5-6, May 12-13, May 19-20 and May 26-27. The first statement is ‘I think businesses need to reopen as soon as possible to support the economy’ and the second is ‘I really think it’s time for us to be allowed back out and about’. The proportion who agreed with the first statement increased from 34% at the first time point to 53% at the most recent time point. The proportion who agreed with the second time point increased from 12% at the first time point to 36% at the most recent time point.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1004-1037)

Respondents were also asked whether they agreed or disagreed with three statements about how to decide when to lift restrictions. The vast majority of respondents agreed with each statements shown. However, the proportion who agreed that decisions on lifting restrictions must be based on saving lives and protecting our NHS (third statement) has fallen slightly since the end of April.

Figure 21: Proportions who agreed/agreed strongly with each statement about lifting restrictions
This chart shows the proportion of respondents who agreed or agreed strongly with three statements. The first statement is ‘I support a slow and gradual lifting of restrictions’ and is shown at three time points: May 12-13, May 19-20 and May 26-27. Between 83% and 85% agreed with this statement across the time points. The second statement is ‘before further changes to lockdown restrictions are brought in, the impact of those already introduced should be assessed’ and is also shown at three time points: May 12-13, May 19-20 and May 26-27. Between 81% and 82% agreed with this statement across the time points. The third statement is ‘I think that the decisions on when and how to lift restrictions must be based on saving lives and protecting our NHS’ and is shown at five time points: April 28-29, May 5-6, May 12-13, May 19-20 and May 26-27. The proportion who agreed with this statement decreased from 89% at the first time point to 84% at the most recent time point.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1004-1037)

Returning to work

Respondents in employment were asked whether they felt comfortable returning to their place of work, and whether they were confident that their employer could provide a workspace where social distancing guidance could be followed[8]. Around half felt comfortable returning to their place of work in the next month, and a higher proportion were confident that a safe working environment could be provided.

Figure 22: Proportions who felt comfortable/very comfortable or confident/very confident in the statements shown about employment
This chart shows the proportion of respondents who felt comfortable/very comfortable about going back to their usual place of work in the next month, at three time points: May 8-11, May 15-18 and May 22-25. Between 46% and 52% felt comfortable about this across the time points, with 48% feeling comfortable about this at the most recent time point. The chart also shows the proportion of respondents who felt confident/very confident that their employer will be able to provide a workspace where they can follow social distancing guidance, at the same time points. Between 60% and 62% felt confident/very confident about this across the time points, with 62% feeling confident at the most recent time point.

Source: Ipsos MORI, Scotland data. Base: those in employment (n= 301-444), excluding self-employed (n= 267-281)

Returning to normal

Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with two statements about the future. Over the past three survey waves, just under two thirds agreed that they felt anxious about resuming normal activities after the pandemic. Similar proportions also agreed that, in the long term, climate change is as serious as COVID-19

Figure 23: Proportions who agreed/strongly agreed with the statements shown about the future
This chart shows the proportion of respondents who agreed/agreed strongly with two statements, at three time points: May 8-11, May 15-18 and May 22-25. The first statement is ‘thinking about resuming normal activities after the pandemic makes me feel very anxious’. Between 62% and 64% agreed with this statement across the time points, with 62% agreeing at the most recent time point. The second statement is ‘in the long term, climate change is as serious as COVID-19 is’. Between 63% and 66% agreed with this statement across the time points, with 63% agreeing at the most recent time point.

Source: Ipsos MORI, Scotland data. Scottish base (n=500)

Contact

Email: covid-19.behaviours@gov.scot

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