5 things polling tells us about how Labour voters are reacting to Covid-19

YouGov recently conducted a survey looking how UK residents are responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Here are five things we learnt about Labour voters from the polling.

They lack confidence in the government…

Among Labour supporting respondents, 60% said they were not confident in the government’s ability to handle the outbreak of the virus, a full 20 percentage points above the overall response from those surveyed.

62% of them indicated that they thought the government had not responded fast enough to the crisis and should have done more. This is markedly higher than the 47% of survey respondents more generally.

50% of Labour voters said that they thought the government was not being honest with the public, compared with 27% who did. In contrast, only 29% of Lib Dems and 19% of Tories appeared not to trust the government.

And an overwhelming 70% of Labour-supportive participants reported that they had found Boris Johnson’s handling of the situation had “not been reassuring”, and 62% thought he wasn’t “up to the job” of managing the pandemic.

Confidence in the NHS is also lower…

The Labour supporters also reported less confidence than other groups about the ability of the NHS to handle the epidemic. Only 60% of them reported confidence in the health service, compared to 67% of all respondents and 78% of Conservatives.

They were also less enthused by the idea of bringing back retired nurses and doctors than the general population. 50% responded to say it was a good idea, compared to 59% of all surveyed and a huge 71% of Tories.

BBC online is their main source of coronavirus information…

Most Labour voters are getting their information about Covid-19 from the BBC website. 50% are using the online platform to get to learn about the latest on the virus, while the next most used medium is “TV or radio” – favoured by 47% of respondents.

Significantly more of those who voted Labour reported having used social media to get information than the overall group of participants. 38% of Labour supporting respondents ticked social media, compared to just 29% of all surveyed.

Monopoly is out, telly is in…

TV was the most popular choice as to how people would pass the time while staying home, though surely many of those people were referring to Netflix. In all, 32% of people said that they would watch TV. But it would be great for us nerds to have known the breakdown between platforms.

The figure is slightly lower for Labour voters specifically. 30% of them said they were up for some extra screen time, which is slightly more than the Lib Dems and less than the Tories.

In contrast, board games came last on the list for Labour voters, with only 2% of them saying that they fancied a game. Monopoly lost out, then – to TV, to DIY, to gardening and to just about anything else a person could possibly get up to while staying home.

Ever the optimists, Labour voters were most likely to say that they would “take up a hobby” with their additional time at home. 6% of them said so, compared with just 3% of Lib Dems and Tories. But 2019 Labour voters were less likely than Tory supporters – 2% versus 4% – to say they would pass the time by having sex.

They will work, work, work, work, work – from home…

More Labour voters responded that they would continue working from home than the general population – at 21% compared to 17%. This reflects the fact that, when asked whether they thought that they would be able to work from home, 36% responded that the could, compared to only 29% of all respondents.

It’s still not a lot, however, and highlights a crucial dilemma facing those who simply cannot work from home. As of May last year, only 1.54 million people worked from home for their main job, out of a total of 32.54 million people in work in the UK.

21% of all Labour voters surveyed said they felt they would be unable to “cope financially” if forced to self isolate, compared to 19% of all respondents, 15% of Tories and 11% of Lib Dems.

Sample Size: 1634 Adults in GB. Fieldwork: 12th – 13th March 2020. Full tables can be found here.

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