One in ten would not follow new household mixing rules specifically because of No 10 parties

Adam McDonnellResearch Director of Political and Social Research
December 10, 2021, 12:09 PM UTC

Few trust the Prime Minister to make the right decisions on the coronavirus outbreak

Headlines surrounding Christmas parties held at Downing Street in 2020 don’t appear to be letting up any time soon, with the story continuing to dominate the press. A YouGov survey on Wednesday found that 50% were following the story very or fairly closely, suggesting that it has cut through with the wider public.

Now new YouGov data finds that these stories may have also damaged the government’s ability to tighten restrictions, should they be required. Asked how likely they would be to follow a rule preventing people from mixing with those outside their household, the public are split 46% likely to 46% unlikely.

When probing those who suggest they wouldn’t obey these more extreme measures to tell us why in their own words, a fifth (21%) say the revelations surrounding potential Downing Street parties are the main reason. This translates to 10% of the British population who say if such a rule took place, they would not stop mixing with households specifically because the Prime Minister, Government, or others in Downing Street broke the rules last year.

Other reasons given by those who say they would not follow such rules include wanting to see their family or friends (17%, equivalent to 8% of all Britons), being fed up with restrictions or feeling we need to move on for COVID (15%, the same as 7% of the whole population), that they are already vaccinated (12%, or 6% of the wider public) or don’t feel such a rule would be realistic, effective, or necessary (10%, equal to 5% of the nation).

The same survey now shows that seven in ten Britons (70%) say they have little to no confidence in Boris Johnson to make the right decisions when it comes to the coronavirus outbreak, an increase of 10pts since mid-July.

This stands in sharp contrast to chief medical officer Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, who inspire confidence in 59% and 45% of Britons respectively (with the difference between the two explained by lower recognition levels for Sir Patrick, rather than fewer people having confidence in him).

See the full results here and here