Confidence falls in governmental COVID-19 strategies – in UK, by 18%

World Today

Approval ratings of Boris Johnson’s COVID-19 strategy fell by 18 percent during May. /AP

Approval ratings of Boris Johnson’s COVID-19 strategy fell by 18 percent during May. /AP

A survey of public confidence in the responses of their governments to COVID-19 has revealed drops almost everywhere – led by a 18 percent fall in the UK.

The monthly survey of people living in the Group of Seven (G7) nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the U.S. – revealed falls in governmental approval ratings in every country except Japan, which still has the lowest positive rating of 37 percent.

The drop was most acute in the UK, where confidence fell from 69 percent to 51 percent. France and Germany each slipped two points, to 41 and 65 respectively, while Italy fell from 71 to 65. 

Using a weighted sample of just over 1,000 respondents in each country polled between 28 May and 1 June, polling firm Kantar found approval ratings across the G7 as a whole also dropped two points to 48 percent.

“Britain saw the biggest drop – a sharp fall of 18 points from April to 51 percent – while in the United States, Canada, Germany, France and Italy, the declines ranged between two and six points. Japan was the only country to show an increase”
–  Kantar study

The UK’s COVID-19 death toll has surpassed 50,000, according to a Reuters tally, although the government figure was just short of 40,000 as of Thursday morning. Either way, the country is one of the worst hit in the world by the pandemic.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has also struggled to contain the fallout from a decision by his top advisor Dominic Cummings to undertake a long road trip to get family help at the height of the coronavirus lockdown, apparently contradicting the governmental advice to stay at home. 

Perhaps understandably, approval ratings of the UK government’s communication of information fell 20 points month-on-month, to 59 percent month-on-month. The same index fell 12 points in Italy to 58 percent, 10 points in Germany to 62 percent and one point in France to 52 percent.

Another index measures how many respondents “trust [their government] to make the right decisions in the future” – and again, confidence has dropped across Europe, led by the UK. Trust in Johnson’s government dropped 16 points to 60 percent, with Italian trust dropping nine points to 52 percent, German trust down four points to 67 percent and French trust down three to 46 percent.

Johnson’s decision not to sack senior political adviser, Dominic Cummings, for his lockdown road trip has badly affected confidence in the UK government. /AP

In another blow to Johnson’s attempts to ease lockdown restrictions, the proportion of UK respondents who believe their government is placing “too much emphasis on protecting the country’s economy, and not enough on protecting people’s health” has almost doubled from 23 to 45 percent.

Just over half of global respondents said they would use a contact-tracing app to help to prevent a new wave of infections. Almost two-thirds of those who said they would not cited privacy concerns.

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One in three people felt uncomfortable about returning to their workplace, a similar number said they would work at home more than before the crisis and about four in 10 said they would visit restaurants, cafes, pubs and cinemas less than before.