Snap poll: English people tend to back pace of lockdown lifting

Matthew SmithLead data journalist
February 22, 2021, 8:28 PM UTC

There is also strong backing for the step one timeline

This afternoon prime minister Boris Johnson outlined his four step-plan to bring England out of lockdown. Should the government be satisfied that COVID cases are coming down sufficiently, the country will regain a new set of lost freedoms every five weeks, meaning that by 21 June the last restrictions on social contact could be cast off.

English people tend to think the path being set to a post-lockdown future is happening at about the right pace (46%). A quarter think such a timeline is too rapid (26%), while another 16% think it is too slow.

Most Conservative voters (54%), as well as 42% of Labour voters, agree with the pace the prime minister has set. Labour voters are more likely than their Tory counterparts to think that the plan is too quick (34% vs 18%), while Conservative voters are more likely to consider it too slow (20% vs 11%).

This survey was launched shortly after 4pm and closed at 8pm, so all fieldwork was conducted after the PM’s speech to the Commons – and media coverage trailing the general thrust of the plan all morning – but much was conducted prior to his subsequent televised address at 7pm.

There is strong support for specific step one plans to re-open schools and allow outdoor socialising

Under step one of the government’s plans, schools in England are set to be re-opened on 8 March. There is strong backing for such a move, with 63% of English people giving their approval, including 50% of Labour voters and 79% of Conservative voters. Only 27% are opposed.

Step one plans would also allow for English people to two households or groups of six to meet outdoors from 29 March, and outdoors sports will be able to resume on the same day.

Support is even higher for this provision, with three quarters of English people (78%) in favour. This figure includes 85% of Conservative voters and 74% of Labour voters. Only 13% stand opposed to letting people see one another to this deadline.

See the full results here