In a press conference at Downing Street last night (14th June), Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced that the planned easing of the final set of restrictions on 21st June would be delayed by at least four weeks (19th July). With the delay coming as a blow to many individuals and businesses alike, Savanta ComRes conducted polling immediately after the announcement to test the opinions of English adults on the news.
Key findings from the polling:
- Two in five (43%) say final restrictions should lift after 19 July, while a third (31%) say they should lift on that date
- More than half (56%) concerned that restrictions could go on indefinitely
- Just 23% say the government is most to blame for the delay, compared to 28% who say the public are by not following the rules
- Two in five (43%) say that the government should lift the remaining coronavirus restrictions after the new ‘terminus date’ given by the Prime Minister yesterday (14 June) evening.
This compares to a third (31%) who say that the government should lift the restrictions on their planned date in four weeks’ time, while a further 13% say the restrictions should lift on 21 June as originally planned.
The new poll comes following a change of language from the Prime Minister yesterday, stating that the new planned 19 July lift of the final restrictions is the “terminus date” – a phrase recycled by Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove this morning – compared to previous roadmap dates being “no earlier than”.
However, the survey finds that more than half (56%) of English adults are concerned that some coronavirus restrictions may stay in place indefinitely, although a similar proportion (54%) acknowledge, as the government are increasingly vocal, that the concept of ‘zero-covid’, i.e. eliminating all cases from the UK, is unlikely.
This is despite the number of cases (86%), hospitalisations (90%) and deaths (89%) being seen as important when deciding whether to lift restrictions, compared to the loss of individual freedoms (60%).
Following the leader of the opposition tweeting that “incompetence and slow decision making” were the cause of the government pushing the end of restrictions back, this poll finds that just a quarter (23%) say the government is most to blame for the change of plan, while 28% blame the public for not obeying the restrictions. Approaching two in five (38%) say the public and the government are equally culpable.
And ultimately public disapproval of the move is low: just 12% oppose the decision to push restrictions back, and just 17% say that the move is too cautious.