EuroTrack Nov 2021: how well are governments handling the coronavirus pandemic?

Jemma ConnerResearch Manager
December 06, 2021, 11:45 AM GMT+0

With warnings of tighter coronavirus restrictions across Europe, and concern over the Omicron variant, YouGov's latest EuroTrack survey looks at how people in seven countries feel their governments have performed through the pandemic. For five of the countries, we were also able to see how opinion has changed over the last six months.

How are national governments handling the vaccine rollout?

Countries have taken very different approaches to the vaccine programmes, and the relative success of these approaches can clearly be seen in the latest YouGov polling. Britain moved relatively quickly with its vaccination programme compared to other countries, and the vast majority (79%) of Brits say the government have done well as the focus moves to distributing booster jabs. While this does represent a drop from when this was previously asked in May, (86%), the British government has the second highest approval rate among the seven countries polled.

Spain and Italy are recent additions to the EuroTrack survey, so there is no comparative data from May, but officials can be happy with the public’s perception of their performance of this measure – 78% of Italians say their government is handling the rollout well. The Italian government has also encouraged vaccine uptake by introducing a ‘Green Pass’, a certificate proving either your vaccination status, a recent negative test, or recovery from Covid-19 in order to access places such as restaurants, gyms, theatres and the workplace. Spaniards are also pleased with the vaccine rollout, with 72% saying their government is handling this well.

Of the other four countries where there is comparable data from six months ago, all of them have seen a significant jump in people saying their government have handled the vaccine rollout well. Denmark takes the top spot, with 81% saying the government has done a good job, compared to 64% in May. Both France and Germany have seen jumps of around 20 points (France from 35% to 55%, and Germany from 23% to 44%) compared to six months ago, although Germans are still to be convinced on this issue – half (50%) say the government has handled this area badly.

Similarly, Germans are the only group where the proportion that think the government has done a worse job on vaccines outweighs the proportion that think they have done a better job than other countries. When asked to compare their own government’s vaccine rollout to other countries, half (49%) of Germans say they have done a worse job, although this figure has dropped from two thirds (66%) in May. Germany has recently seen a fourth wave of infections, with the unvaccinated population particularly suffering.   

For all other countries, more people think their government is doing better than other countries, than think they are doing worse. The French in particular have dramatically changed their opinion – in May just 22% felt that their government was doing better than others, but in the most recent polling this figure jumps to 50%.

How are national governments handling protecting people’s health?

When asked how governments are doing in terms of protecting people’s health, the view is decidedly more mixed.

Danes are the most content with how their government is doing in this regard, with 79% saying they are doing well, by far the highest approval of any of the countries polled. France has seen a significant jump in this measure, up 14 points on six months ago with a majority (56%) now saying the government is handling this area well. All countries are net positive when it comes to protecting people’s health, apart from Britain, where 48% say the government is doing badly versus 46% who say it is doing well. This represents a 10-point negative swing from May.

When asked to compare their own government’s performance on this measure to other countries, Britons are split, with just 41% saying it is doing a better job. This is the lowest of all the countries, equal only with Sweden. However, whereas Sweden’s 41% represents a positive swing of seven points from May, Britain’s is a seven-point negative swing.

By contrast, 59% of Spaniards and 65% of Italians say their governments are doing a better job of protecting people’s health than other countries.

How are national governments handling protecting jobs?

The same cannot be said for protecting people’s jobs – Spain and Italy both have net negative figures on this measure when it comes to comparing their own governments’ efforts against other countries. Most Spaniards (56%), and 45% of Italians, think their governments are doing a worse job than their counterparts around the world.

British opinion on this matter has remained static, with most saying that the government has both done well in its handling of protecting jobs (55%) and half thinking it done a better job than other countries (50%).

For all other countries with comparable data, there has been a positive jump in how well the government has protected people’s jobs.

Most French adults (57%) think their government has handled this area well, up from 41% six months ago, representing the largest increase of any of the countries polled. Swedes are also much more optimistic now, with a majority (55%) describing their government as handling this well in November, compared to 46% in May.

Germans are more split on the matter, with 48% saying the government has handled jobs well, and 43% saying badly. Although this is by no means overwhelming support for the government’s actions, Germans do think that the government is doing well compared to other countries by 51% to 34%, a seven point improvement from May.

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