Publication - Research and analysis

Public attitudes to coronavirus: May summary

Published: 12 Jun 2020

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.

Public attitudes to coronavirus: May summary
1. Impact of Coronavirus

1. Impact of Coronavirus

Threat perception

Respondents were asked what level of threat they thought Coronavirus posed to a range of dimensions of life. As shown in Figure 1, the greatest threat was perceived to be to 'the world', followed by 'threat to country' and 'threat to your community'. Personal threat was perceived to be the lowest and has fallen since the end of April.

Figure 1: Proportion who consider there to be a very high/high threat from Coronavirus
This graph shows the proportion of respondents who considered there to be a very high/high threat from Coronavirus to the world, their country, their community and them personally, at five time points: April 23-26, May 1-3, May 8-11, May 15-18 and May 22-25. All measures have remained relatively constant across each time point, although the proportion who considered there to be a very high/high threat to them personally fell from 40% at the first time point to 30% at the most recent time point. Perceived threat to the world is highest at each time point, with 79% considering this to be a very high/high threat at the latest time point.

Source: Ipsos MORI, Scotland data. Base (n=500-684)

Financial impact

Respondents were asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed with a statement about the financial impact of Coronavirus, and the perceived level of threat to their job or business. As shown in Figure 2, just under two thirds agreed that there will be financial impact on them and their family. This has fallen since the middle of April, when, as previously reported, 75% agreed there would be a financial impact[1]. Just under half of those in employment perceived a threat to their job or business, and this has remained relatively stable through the month.

Figure 2: Proportion who agreed/agreed strongly or answered high/very high to the statements shown
This graph shows the proportion of respondents who agreed or strongly agreed with the statement ‘Coronavirus will have a financial impact on you and your family’ at five time points: April 23-26, May 1-3, May 8-11, May 15-18 and May 22-25. The proportion who agreed with this statement this fell from 70% at the first time point to 65% at the most recent time point. The graph also shows the proportion of respondents who felt Coronavirus posed a high or very high threat to their job or business, at the same five time points. Between 46% and 50% of respondents said this across the time points shown.

Source: Ipsos MORI, Scotland data. Base: all respondents (n=500-684), those in employment (n= 301-444).

Respondents were also asked how concerned they were about the impact of Coronavirus on their household finances. As shown in Figure 3, around a quarter of respondents were 'extremely' or 'very' concerned about being able to pay their bills or provide for their household, while just over a fifth were concerned about having a job. These measures have remained relatively stable throughout May.

Figure 3: Proportion of respondents who were very/extremely concerned with the statements shown
This chart shows the proportion of respondents who were very/extremely concerned with three statements. The first statement is ‘concerned that I will be able to pay my bills’ and is shown at five time points: April 23-26, May 1-3, May 8-11, May 15-18 and May 22-25. Between 22% and 27% of respondents were concerned about this, with 24% concerned at the latest time point. The second statement is ‘concerned that I will have a job’ and is shown at three time points: May 8-11, May 15-18 and May 22-25. Between 22% and 26% of respondents were concerned about this, with 22% concerned at the latest time point. The third statement is ‘concerned that I will be able to provide for my household’ and is also shown at three time points: May 8-11, May 15-18 and May 22-25. Between 23% and 27% of respondents were concerned about this, with 25% concerned at the latest time point.

Source: Ipsos MORI, Scotland data. Base (n=500-684)

Health impacts

To understand the perceived health risk of Coronavirus, respondents were asked how serious they thought catching the virus would be for their health. As shown in Figure 4, the proportion who considered it an extremely or very serious risk fell between the end of April and the end of May. Respondents were also asked whether they thought someone close to them would become infected, and around half thought this was very or somewhat likely, a slight decrease since the end of April.

Figure 4: Proportion who answered extremely/very serious risk or very/somewhat likely to the statements shown
This graph shows the proportion of respondents who felt it was very or somewhat likely that someone close to them would be infected by the virus, at five time points: April 23-26, May 1-3, May 8-11, May 15-18 and May 22-25. The proportion who said this fell from 55% at the first time point to 49% at the most recent time point. The graph also shows the proportion of respondents who felt the virus posed an extremely or very serious risk to their personal health, at the same five time points. The proportion of respondents who said this has increased over time. The proportion who said this also fell from 48% at the first time point to 39% at the most recent time point.

Source: Ipsos MORI, Scotland data. Base (n=500-684)

To understand the potential impact on non-COVID related health issues, respondents were asked if they would avoid going to a hospital or GP practice if they had a medical concern unrelated to Coronavirus. As shown in Figure 5, in the most recent survey wave a third agreed that they would avoid a hospital or GP practice. This has remained relatively stable since the end of April.

Although not shown on the chart, as it is outside the reporting period, this question was first asked April 21-22 when 45% agreed and 41% disagreed.

Figure 5: Proportions 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)'
This chart shows the proportion of respondents who agreed or disagreed with a statement shown at five time points: April 28-29, May 5-6, May 12-13, May 19-20 and May 26-27. The statement is ‘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)’. The majority disagreed with this statement, with 52% disagreeing at the latest time point.

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


Contact

Email: covid-19.behaviours@gov.scot