New Ipsos MORI polling highlights the extent to which the British public think their society is divided.
The survey finds that the public believe the coronavirus pandemic will have a disproportionate impact on particular groups in British society.
When asked to think about all the potential impacts of the coronavirus (health, social and economic), two-thirds (64%) say there will be a more negative impact for older people than for younger people.
This view is held by a majority of all age groups, though is particularly strong among older people (six in ten of 18-55s, and seven in ten 55-75s, agree). Three in five (61%) also think poor people will be more negatively affected than rich people (again by a majority of all groups, but especially 2019 Labour voters at 73%) while those in cities are expected to be hit harder by the coronavirus than those in rural areas (57% vs. 13% respectively).
Around half think that the coronavirus will have a more negative impact on people from ethnic minorities than white people (48% vs 3%). Just under half (46%) think people like them will be affected the same as other groups in the population, although those who do think there will be a difference expect it to hit other groups more than themselves (28% vs. 13%).
The poll, conducted online amongst British adults aged 18-75, also reveals three quarters (75%) of Britons think that British society is very or fairly divided, although this is an improvement from 86% last year (21% think British society is not very or not at all divided, twice as many as last year).
Perceptions of division run strong across political lines with 86% of 2019 Labour voters saying British society is divided (11% say it is not) compared with 66% of Conservative voters (32% say it is not). Similarly, when asked to compare how divided British society is with 10 years ago three in five (60%) think it is more divided now, but this is down from 71% last year.
Despite these perceptions of divisions within British society, Ipsos MORI finds a majority (56%) agree that they would rather be a citizen of Britain than any country on earth (just 15% disagree) – although this is slightly down from 60% when last asked in 2016.
Those who are most proud of their British citizenship include older people (65% of 55-75 year olds compared with 54% of 35-54 year olds and 50% of 18-34 year olds), those without a degree (60% compared with 49% with a degree), 2019 Conservative voters (78% compared with 48% of Labour voters and 44% of Liberal Democrat voters) and Leave voters (71% compared with 48% of Remain voters).
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