Three years on: Britons still support lockdowns
New UnHerd polling reveals most of the nation thinks the measure was justified
Three years on from the imposition of the first Covid lockdown, new polling from UnHerd Britain shows that much of the population still feels the measures were justified. When presented with the statement ‘In retrospect, lockdowns were a mistake’, just 27% of respondents agree compared to 54% who disagree, with 19% ambivalent.
The polling, conducted by FocalData, looked at responses from 10,000 voters and used MRP to produce estimates for all 632 constituencies in Great Britain, excluding the Northern Irish constituencies which are more difficult to estimate using this method. There is not a single one of these 632 constituencies in which there is more agreement than disagreement with the statement. Despite what might appear to be a nationwide consensus, though, there are clear trends between the areas which remain committed to the pandemic measures, and those in which dissent is more likely.
Just as UnHerd’s polling on environmental issues found that the most green-sceptic constituencies are located in Yorkshire, the county is also the UK’s most lockdown-sceptic area. The two most lockdown-sceptic constituencies are Leeds Central and Kingston upon Hull North, while the top ten also features Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle; Kingston upon Hull East; and Rotherham. The list is rounded off by densely-populated urban areas in different parts of the UK: Birmingham, Ladywood; Barking; West Ham; Manchester Central; and Middlesborough. All ten are represented by a Labour MP.
The nine most pro-lockdown constituencies are in the south of England and the tenth, Kenilworth and Southam, is in Warwickshire in the West Midlands. Nine out of ten are represented by Conservative MPs. The exception is third-placed Chesham and Amersham, which has been represented by Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Green since a 2021 by-election. It had previously been Conservative-held since its creation in 1974. These southern constituencies tend to be more affluent than the Labour-voting most lockdown-sceptic areas, with the latter not only predominantly urban but also far more likely to have high rates of unemployment.
As one would expect, the older generation is less likely to think that lockdown was a mistake, with only 17% of people over the age of 65 agreeing with UnHerd’s statement. This increases to 22% of the 55-64 bracket, 27% among those aged 45-54, and 32% of the 35-44 group. Interestingly, the 25-34 bracket is more lockdown-sceptic than respondents in their late teens and early twenties, with 39% agreement compared to 34% among the 18-24 group.
One conclusion to be drawn from this data is that lockdown was clearly kinder to those in leafy and well-off rural areas in the south of England, where the population is more likely to be of retirement age and welcoming of protective measures during a pandemic. Meanwhile, the industrial north, and poorer parts of London and other major cities, felt the brunt of the Government-imposed quarantine.
Yet, across the country, between age groups and political parties, we can see that Britain does not regret lockdown. Whether respondents feel that it was an appropriate remedy to an extraordinary problem or an exercise that should be repeated when a future health crisis rolls around is another matter.
I could cry. I really could…..
Have an upvote with my sympathy.
Perhaps a reminder not to exist in an epistemic bubble and seek news, current affairs and opinion from more than one source.
People are weird.
People are broken
No, to lapse into the vernacular, they are THICK!
You sound just like a re-moaner – the people were too thick and voted the wrong way.
Would asinine be a better word?
Incidentally don’t you mean thick not think in you second line ?
Yes I do – just changed it.
Isobel, what was the point of the lockdown files, then? Perhaps future generations will be kinder to your efforts.
“Most people would rather die than THINK and MOST do.*
It’s a sad statement about society right now. I’m sure 90% of people have never heard of excess deaths and what it looks like across the globe.
As Populist dictators have found throughout history there is a real market for authoritarian solutions to problems of all sorts. A close analysis of complex issues to determine the optimal solution is not the popular way. Far too many prefer simplistic emotionally appealing and authoritarian solutions. How to think – particularly any analysis involving statistics is not something taught in schools. Schooling and scepticism don’t mix well.
It would be difficult to figure out what type of demographics that this poll reached, but I do have a suspicion that certain algorithms affect which demographics it reached(shadowbanning and content filtering are now common phenomena), namely favoring the laptop class that constantly consume and believe the establishment & MSM; not to mention the obvious fact that it has likely excluded those who don’t go online as much(and people I myself aspire to learn from) apart from work reasons. It might’ve skewed the results somewhat, we’ll probably never know.
Having said that, my anecdotal experience contradicts this poll’s findings- more than half the people(dozens!) I’ve encountered in London & Surrey, many of them I’ve never met before- emphatically oppose lockdowns(albeit some supporting ONLY the 1st), masks & other mandates. Their demographics vary quite widely- including whites(many Britons or Irish), blacks, Middle-Easterners, atheists, Muslims, Christians, liberals, centrists, conservatives(NOT the party), millennials, Gen Zs, Gen Xs, Boomers, the Silent Gen add one odd millennial Asian Christian i.e. myself, hence my skepticism of this poll. I’ve always thought that the British have been more perceptive with all this than the Australians(I was an immigrant there till 2021), and for this reason being a UK citizen rather than an Australian one has been a comforting fact for me, or have I perhaps been too naïvely optimistic?
Lockdowns saved lives. Comparative countries cumulative covid deaths to date Norway 5,230 (lockdown) Sweden 23,777 (No lockdown). Of course there is a wider discussion on the harms and benefits, but that’s the reality.
There is more to life than stopping death.
True, but dying rather puts a crimp on what one can do though.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson
Prolonging Useless Lives? PUL*.
(* Anyone remember that splendid dog food PAL: Prolongs Active Life?)
Are you volunteering?
Off to Geneva asap.
I’ll hold your hand, make sure you have the courage to see it through.
Perhaps you would care to join me?
And who is to decide on whose life is useless? You can make that decision for yourself and no-one else.
I am sorry but I have to fervently disagree.
Are you and John Murray (of this Parish ) one and the same person?
Or just clones?
I’m uncertain of your reference tbh.
I can assure you of one thing – he’s no relation!
I never thought he could be!I.
As it happens, my middle name is “Murray”. We’re a rather large clan from the central Scottish highlands.
I suspect our ‘Rubber Johnny’ Murray does NOT hail from the Highlands.
I suspect you are in fact Michael Ray Dibdin Heseltine.
You may think that but I couldn’t possibly comment.
Mine is Charles, my folks are from Devon.
Sweden of course has some of the lowest excess deaths in Europe. The most accurate measure is the number of deaths greater or less than expected because it captures not just deaths directly rebated to Covid, but deaths indirectly related to Covid. Sweden has amongst the lowest excess deaths in the world.
Or rather, it’s the measure you prefer to use because it fits with a comfortable narrative that supports their lockdown policies. The problem with that is you are also into many complex reasons for those figures that are likely to be unique to that country, for example their low obesity.
It is the standard which has always been presented as the copper-bottomed means of understanding disease burden – we don’t count cases from tests and deaths after a positive test result for other pandemics, and historians won’t start doing so now – and the newfound obsession, your obsession, with discrediting it as a measure reveals your unease, and the cracks appearing in your narrative, not ours.
Excess deaths measures the percentage increase in deaths for given country over a period of time. Obesity would only be be a factor if it increased in Sweden for some reason over the period of time being measured. It doesn’t measure obesity between Sweden and any other country.
Nothing and no-one can “save a life”. We all die. Lives can only ever be extended by interventions (or not intervening). How many lives did lockdowns extend and by how much? That’s a question with uncomfortable answers for the lockdown zealots.
Your point is well made, but it’s incalculable, hence unanswerable.
Incalculable possibly; but Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) are used to attempt to gauge the efficiency of a (usually pharmaceutical) intervention. Unfortunately the term rather fell from the health lexicon in March 2020.
No one ever said ‘this will extend people’s lives’ or ‘thank you for extending my life through interventions’.
Yes, but i doubt that use of QALY would be possible given all the variables involved with Covid, as opposed to the specific type of intervention you refer to.
lol “covid deaths”
Every person on the face of this planet has been infected by covid, a simple and inescapable truth which offers concrete evidence of its nothingburger status. The fact it spread unnoticed throughout the latter half of 2019, before the media spooked governments by reporting on China’s unscientific overreaction to it, is more proof of its ordinariness – as is the fact we’re here arguing about it. Not dead.
Things reached a low during lockdown – something which public health literature has consistently and compellingly advised against – when we began our campaign to poke swabs up the noses of millions of people, often several times a day, with the millions of positive results conflated with millions of people being diseased, and deaths overstated accordingly.
Enough of all this nonsense. You were had.
It seems most people disagree with you according to the poll. Maybe you’ve been misled by propaganda and dogma and it deserves a period of introspective reflection?
Looks like the propaganda and dogma did a thoroughly decent job based on this poll. Not 100% compliance but decent. If we increase the furlough to 85% of salary next time and we might get even more approval 🙂
I was responding to your ridiculous statement that covid deaths were some sort of “reality”.
I’m not interested in poll results today any more than I was interested poll results back in 2021, when for example it was being claimed that most people wore face masks, and that most people wanted far tougher requirements for them. The chasm between polling and reality in this instance necessitated a response from YouGov, hilariously titled: “People support masks so why aren’t they wearing them?”
– simple, because people are strange and complex and many aren’t that bright. For example, in using cumulative rather than population adjusted numbers when comparing nations, or excluding excess mortality figures for the same two nations because it paints a very different picture, or excluding some of the nations with the earliest and strictest lockdowns, such as Peru, because they fared the worst.
Thanks for the downvote, will keep it as a badge.
I think this is a fair question. I try to be objective at all times, but we can all be captured by dogma and group think. What would your argument be that people have been misled? Is there something more than straight up Covid death numbers?
and excess deaths??
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