A new polling organisation, Prolific, has challenged recent polling by Ipsos MORI that suggested a surprisingly high percentage of Brits believe lockdown restrictions should stay in place “permanently”.
Prolific believed that if the questions asked by Ipsos MORI were changed slightly, the results would come out very differently. How right it was! The results of its own poll have been published in the Financial Times.
A 70-person Oxford-based polling start-up called Prolific… decided to carry out their own 24-hour survey, using a representative sample of 978 people in the U.K. – very similar to the Ipsos poll which surveyed 1,025 people – to see what the results would be if they changed the questions a little. As they explained to us:
“We ran pretty much the same study as Ipsos, but we… adapted our survey accordingly. Specifically:
“We added a timeframe to the study, ‘Until Restrictions lift on July 19th’ We removed the word ‘rule’ from the study and replaced it with ‘idea’
“We modified the wording of the scale items to make it seem less like a rule, e.g. ‘Having to wear masks in shops and on public transport’ → ‘Wearing a mask in shops and on public transport’ .”
Prolific also changed the question that Ipsos had asked about restrictions remaining in place “permanently, regardless of the risk of Covid” to “permanently, even if there were little to no risk of Covid” – as we pointed out in our post earlier this week, the word “risk” tends to have negative associations,
And it turns out the results from all these changes were rather different. Specifically:
“Just three per cent support a permanent curfew, compared to 19% according to Ipsos.
“Just six per cent support permanent closure of nightclubs, compared to 26% according to Ipsos.
“13% supported a permanent 10-day quarantine when returning from foreign holidays, compared with 31% according to Ipsos.
When it came to masks, there was slightly less of a difference between the two polls: 31% said they should continue to be worn in shops and on public transport, compared with 40% in the Ipsos poll who said wearing a mask in a public place should be mandatory.
Here is what the Prolific poll results look like as a whole, compared with the Ipsos results represented as crosses (full key below):
What a difference! And as Will Jones recently highlighted, “actions speak louder than words”. The fact that so many people are deleting the NHS Covid app – or never downloaded it in the first place – is surely an indication of the true level of support behind Covid restrictions.
Worth reading in full.