Eight in ten Brits in favour of local lockdowns to tackle coronavirus

A majority of the UK public think restrictions are being lifted too quickly, and an increasing number say they wear a mask outside.
15 July 2020
leicester uk graffiti lockdown local
Luke Taylor

Head of Opinion Polling, Public Division, UK

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Findings from Kantar’s research, which took place between 9 and 13 July, reveal:

  • 81% of people in the UK approve or strongly approve of the government using local lockdowns to tackle outbreaks of coronavirus, and 71% think that they will be fairly/very effective.
  • 82% of people are very/fairly concerned that there will be a second wave of coronavirus infections in the UK.
  • Almost half (47%) think that the pace at which the government is adjusting restrictions to everyday life is much/a bit too fast, compared to 19% who think it is a bit/much too slow. One in four think the government have got it about right (26%).
  • 47% think that the government are placing too much emphasis on protecting the country’s economy and not enough on protecting people’s health, compared to 15% who think the emphasis is too much on health over economy. 25% think they have got the balance about right.
  • One in four of the public who state their income has been reduced by coronavirus expect the reduction to be permanent (25%, +5 vs June 2020).
  • Public confidence in the economy remains gloomy, with three quarters of people (74%, -2) stating that they think Britain’s economy is doing worse than 12 months ago.
  • As new rules on the mandatory wearing of face masks as of 24 July in England are announced, more people are purporting to wearing a mask outside their home in the last week, compared to June: 14% (+5) ‘always’, 17% (+8) ‘usually’, 21% (+8) ‘sometimes’. Fewer people said they ‘never’ wore a mask in the last week; 25% compared to 41% in June.

Economic impacts and expectations

Overall, expectations for the economy and the personal impacts remain gloomy, with minor upticks from June:

  • Job insecurity remains high, with 37% (-2) of those working believing their job is less safe than it was 12 months ago. 45% (-1) of those working state their job to be much the same as 12 months ago.
  • Looking to the future, two thirds (65%) of those working think that their job is very/somewhat secure in the period to the end of 2020, with 27% saying not at all/not very secure.
  • Just under three quarters of people think that the British economy is doing worse than 12 months ago (74%, -2),
  • Around a third (34%, -2) report that coronavirus has reduced their personal income. Of that group, 25% expect this reduction to be permanent (+5). 26% (-8) think it will return to normal within a few weeks or months and 36% (-2) think their income will return to normal, but it will take more than a few months. 13% don’t know (+5).
  • Three in ten state that they are finding it harder to meet their monthly household budget compared to 12 months ago (30%, +2).

However, despite the economic worries being reported, this study also shows some early signs that the public may be anticipating a quick recovery for the economy. There has been a continuing shrinking in the proportion that think the economy will be doing worse in 12 months’ time: 41%, compared to 43% in June, 48% in May and 50% in April.

Perceptions of actions and intervention to tackle COVID-19

As British society experiences changing lockdown restrictions, new challenges are emerging for longer-term initiatives for tackling COVID-19:

  • Public perception of how the UK government is handling the crisis remains poor, with over half of people (53%, -2) stating that they think the government is handling the coronavirus outbreak very/fairly poorly. Fewer than four in ten (39%, no change) think that the government are handling it very/fairly well.
  • Half (50%, +1) of the public now rate the government’s communication of information about COVID-19 as very/fairly good.
  • Four in ten (41%) say they ‘definitely’ plan to get vaccinated if a coronavirus is developed, compared to 28% who say ‘probably’.
  • The proportion of people who say they would be very/fairly likely to use the planned NHS contact-tracing app remains under half (47%, +1). Women are more likely than men to say they would be likely to use an app (50% compared to 44% of men).

Voting intentions

  • Conservative 45% (+2 vs June 2020)
  • Labour 35% (nc)
  • Liberal Democrats 9% (+1)
  • SNP 5% (nc)
  • Green 2% (-2)
  • The Brexit Party 2% (nc)
  • UKIP 1% (nc)
  • Plaid Cymru 1% (+1)
  • Other 1% (+1)

Notes to Editors

Additional findings and methodology:

  • When asked if the UK should consider re-joining the EU if the general economic situation turned out to be a lot worse after Brexit, 33% said ‘yes’, 34% said ‘no’ and 16% said ‘maybe’.
  • If a new referendum was held on EU membership, 39% say they would vote to stay out of the EU, 33% say they would apply to join the EU. 16% would not vote and 12% say they don’t know.
  • Over four in ten Britons think that leaving the EU will make it neither easier or more difficult for the UK government to handle outbreaks like coronavirus in the future (44%, +5).

Methodological information

The survey data and further details on the methodological approach can be found here.  

A total of 1,131 interviews were conducted online among adults living in Great Britain between 9th and 13th July 2020. Interviews were conducted using the Kantar Research Express Online Omnibus, which uses the Kantar online access panel as its sample source.

The data was weighted to match population totals for age, gender, 2019 General Election voting patterns, 2016 EU referendum voting patterns, education, region, and likelihood to vote in the next General Election. Any use of this research must cite Kantar as the source.

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