The Prime Minister Boris Johnson is more distrusted as a source of Covid advice than social media, according to a new poll for the Independent by Savanta ComRes.
While the PM’s and social media’s ‘trust’ figures are broadly similar (30% and 29%, respectively), significantly more say they distrust Boris Johnson (59%) than their own social media feeds (45%).
Journalists (60%) and politicians in general (64%) are also more distrusted than social media, while Keir Starmer (40%) is less distrusted only marginally.
The most trusted sources for Covid advice among the public are their own friends and family (76% trust), followed by scientists generally (72%) and Chris Whitty (56%). A quarter (25%) say that they distrust the Chief Medical Officer.
The poll also shows that around three in ten (28%) say they’re less likely to follow the government’s Covid rules now than before the story broke about No.10 holding an unofficial Christmas party while London was in Tier 3 restrictions in 2020.
This comes despite the public generally being supportive of a wave of potential measures the government could introduce to respond to the Omicron variant, including a full two-week circuit breaker lockdown (50% support vs 26% oppose) and a ban on gatherings of people from different households indoors (46% support vs 27% oppose). However, the public tend to draw the line at an indefinite lockdown, where they are equally split between those who support and oppose (38% for each).
However, in lieu of official government guidance, a third (35%) of Britons say that they’ve already scaled back or cancelled their Christmas Day plans in light of concerns relating to the Omicron variant, while almost half (47%) have scaled back or cancelled plans in the run-up to Christmas. Almost one in five (18%) have cancelled their New Year’s Eve plans.
And the public do not see much light at the end of the tunnel, with just one in five (20%) saying that they expect the disruption caused by coronavirus to be better in 2022 than it has been in 2021, with 46% saying the new year will be about the same as the previous 12 months, and 23% saying that 2022 will be worse.
Commenting on the findings, Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes said, “More uncertainty and delays over Christmas from the government will be frustrating for businesses and the public alike, but there is at least some evidence here to suggest the public are already being nudged towards caution.
“A third say they’ve cancelled or scaled back their Christmas Day plans, and while support for circuit breakers and other restrictions remain high, an even split between those who support and oppose an indefinite lockdown is a clear signal that the mood of the country has changed.”
“This time last year we saw much greater support for ‘cancelling’ Christmas, and last January almost four in five supported an indefinite lockdown, compared to the two in five we’re seeing now.
“Perhaps this is hardly surprising given how many distrust Boris Johnson, and far more seem to distrust their own friends and family than the government’s Chief Medical Officer. While the public still understand the need to exercise caution, we’re now a long way from the good will and compliance we saw among Britons at the start of the pandemic.”