Public are "very very nervous" about reducing 2m rule, says pollster

11 June 2020, 19:48

58% of people say that social distancing should be kept at 2 metres, according to a snap poll by YouGov. This pollster explained to Iain Dale why he was unsurprised by this.

This comes as the government faces pressure from Tory MPs and business leaders to halve the social distancing rule amid fears for the economy, especially pubs and bars.

YouGov political research manager Chris Curtis explained around half of that 58%, 24%, said social distancing should be reduced to one metre.

"It's not too far away from a lot of the polling that we've seen throughout this entire crisis which is the public are very very nervous about any easing of lockdown rules," Chris said, "a lot of the easing we tested on polling, that the government has been doing, has generally been opposed.

"I think it just shows we have a public who are a lot more nervous than the government are about increasing rate of infections and potentially a second spike."

Public are "very very nervous" about any lockdown easing
Public are "very very nervous" about any lockdown easing. Picture: LBC/PA

Chris observed that if the government think they are going against popular opinion by easing lockdown slowly then they are "thoroughly misguided" as the polling has been consistent.

"The public are massively in favour of lockdown they think we went into it too slow and they think if anything the government are coming out of it too fast," he said, acknowledging that the government also has to be mindful of the longterm economic effects and not just public opinion.

He told Iain that issues with communicating the increasingly nuanced and complex lockdown rules has not worked in the government's favour: "We've seen five straight weeks now of drop off in the government's approval ratings."

He added that part of this will be the return to normal as at the start of the crisis there was a rallying round the government. The approval rating is still higher than it was when Boris Johnson won his majority in December.