YouGov and Imperial College London’s Institute of Global Health Innovation have been working together since the start of the pandemic to understand public opinion during these unprecedented times. This survey, which covers a number of countries, areas, and territories, examines how people’s attitudes, beliefs and behaviours have changed over the COVID-19 crisis so far.
Looking specifically at public opinion towards institutions in 14 countries across Europe, the Americas, and the APAC region, the data shows a variety of shifting responses. Broadly speaking, people have become less satisfied with their government’s handling of the pandemic over time (June 2020 to April 2021).
The only exceptions are Singapore (which saw a 17-point rise from 71% to 88% in the proportion of people thinking the government was handling the pandemic well) and the UK, which has benefited from a rapid vaccine rollout. Germany saw the most significant decrease in approval: while 70% thought the government was handling coronavirus well in June 2020, this fell to just 26% by April 2021 (-44%)
Confidence in health authorities
When it comes to confidence in health authorities and how they can respond to the crisis, it’s a similar story, although the declines in approval are less dramatic. Just three markets saw an increase in confidence between June 2020 and April 2021: Singapore, Sweden, and the UK (where confidence remained relatively static – as it did in Australia).Again, declines in confidence were most dramatic in Germany: while almost three quarters of the public (71%) said they had faith in their healthcare system last year, this fell to less than half (49%) by April 2021. It appears that, while people were more willing to give incumbent governments and healthcare authorities the benefit of the doubt earlier on in the crisis, as it has dragged on the public have – with some key exceptions - gotten less forgiving.