Majority of readers in North West critical of Boris Johnson’s handling of crisis

We asked our readers in the North West what they thought of the current situation the country is in with the coronavirus crisis.

Wednesday, 27th May 2020, 2:02 pm
We carried out a survey to gauge the opinions of the North West.

The majority of our readers felt that Boris Johnson had handled the crisis 'not at all well,' though there was also a portion that felt he has handled it somewhat well.

The survey was carried out across all four of JPI Media's biggest titles in the North West.

Who is handling the crisis better?

Sign up to our daily Burnley Express Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The survey found that 35% of people think Downing Street has handled the crisis “not at all well”, while 21% replied with “not very well”. Only 12% of readers thought the Prime Minister and his cabinet had handled it “very well”, while 31% answered “somewhat well”.

When asked the same question about Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government, 25% said they had dealt with the crisis “very well”, 50% responded “somewhat well”, 11% “not very well” and 5% “not at all well”.

This gives the UK Government a net approval rating of -14, compared to the Scottish Government’s +60 rating.

Arlene Foster and the Northern Ireland Executive scored an approval rating of +41, although 31% of readers from across the North West answered that they were unsure on this question.

Clarity of the message

In recent weeks the messaging around the crisis has diverged across the UK. When asked how clear they thought the UK Government’s slogan of “Stay alert, control the virus, save lives” was, a majority (62%) answered either “not very clear” or “not at all clear”.

By comparison, the Scottish Government’s continued message of “Stay at home” was judged to be “very clear” by 82% of respondents.

Attitudes on the lockdown

The survey asked readers how closely they think people are sticking to social distancing rules in their area.

Overall, just 8% answered “very closely”, compared to 35% for “somewhat closely”, 29% for “not very closely” and 25% for “not at all closely”.

When asked how comfortable they felt about doing certain things again for the first time since lockdown began on 23 March, visiting family topped the polling with 65% saying they would feel comfortable doing so.

By comparison, 49% would be comfortable meeting up with a small group of friends, 34% would be comfortable returning to their place of work, and 13% would be comfortable taking public transport.

Opposition to schools reopening

In total, just 20% would be comfortable sending their kids back to school, with 36% saying they were “not at all comfortable” with the idea, despite Boris Johnson’s plans to reopen schools in England from next week.

On leisure activities, 45% said they feel comfortable visiting popular destinations such as beaches, parks and beauty spots, 31% would feel comfortable going back to pubs or bars with outdoor areas, 28% would feel comfortable eating in restaurants or cafes, and 16% would feel comfortable taking flights to European holiday destinations.

Testing is a priority

With regards to the measures being put in place to control the spread of the virus, 62% said readily available testing would make them feel more confident in being out in public places, compared to 37% for a tracking and tracing app, and 36% for mandatory wearing of face masks.

Readers were also asked what factors they thought would lead to a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak. A clear majority of 76% think taking public transport poses a high or very high risk, compared to 55% for schools reopening, 46% for workplaces reopening, 32% for meeting up with a small group of friends, and 21% for visiting family.

Job concerns for many

Finally, a majority of respondents also admitted that they were concerned about their job security and income as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Of the 48% who have concerns, 17% said they were “very concerned”.

A total of 46% of readers said they were still in paid work earning their normal income, compared to 8% who said their income had been reduced, 12% who said they were on furlough, 23% who are out of work, and 9% who preferred not to say.