Almost half (48%) of people say that the Government is not doing enough to support the NHS, the highest figure since Savanta started its Coronavirus Tracker, and up 7 points in the last four weeks.
The tracker, which collects public opinion every day and reports a weekly average, also finds that half (50%) say that the Government is not doing enough to support small businesses, despite many remaining open amid speculation that the Government may tighten Coronavirus restrictions further.
Despite this, Savanta ComRes’ first Westminster voting intention of 2021 shows the Conservatives at 40%, with a 3 point lead over Labour at 37%. The Liberal Democrats remain steady on 8% while the other parties, including the SNP (4%), Green (4%), the newly-branded Reform UK (2%), Plaid Cyrmu and the Northern Irish parties, sum to 15%.
Elsewhere in the Coronavirus tracker, a brief recovery in Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s net approval rating was short-lived, with his latest score on -12, down 4 points from last week’s brief renaissance. Boris Johnson is down 2 points from last week to -13 while Keir Starmer’s is back up 6 points to -2, meaning the gap between him and the Prime Minister has widened from 3 points last week to 11 points this week.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s net approval, at +9, remains the highest of the prominent politicians in the tracker, although +9 is his joint-lowest score ever, and his lowest since the start of November.
The tracker also shows a worrying trend in terms of the pandemic’s impact on mental health, with ‘net impact’ (those who say their mental health has gotten better minus those who say it has gotten worse) down at -32, the lowest it has ever been since this metric was first tracked in April 2020, and down 5 points in the last fortnight. The net impact of job security is also down 4 points in the last fortnight, to -18.
Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes said, “A growing perception that the Government is not doing enough to support the NHS, coupled with a slump in Matt Hancock’s approval rating, shows that good news surrounding the vaccine is not the magic wand perhaps the Government hoped it would be, and is a stark a reminder that such good news does little to quell relatively negative public opinion of the Government’s handling of the pandemic on the whole.
“Such negativity isn’t just reflected here, in metrics related to the Government, but also in how the public are feeling. We have seen sharp increases in the negative net impact of lockdowns on people’s mental health and job security over recent weeks. While the Government continue to debate tightening restrictions even further, perhaps it’s worth them reflecting on the narrative that positions the public as to blame for rising Covid cases, as the public, who have been fairly forgiving up to now, may change their tune if January becomes any more blue.”