Boris Johnson’s ability to get the country ‘back to normal’ by Christmas has been thrown into doubt, after fresh polling of Britons showed three-quarters think it is ‘unrealistic’.
Earlier this month, Johnson announced plans to completely re-open the UK’s economy by the end of the year during a televised press conference.
‘It is my strong and sincere hope that we will be able to review the outstanding restrictions and allow a more significant return to normality from November at the earliest – possibly in time for Christmas,’ he said.
But in a survey commissioned by POLITICO and undertaken by former Downing Street pollster James Johnson for PR firm Kekst CNC, only 11% of people thought things would go back to a level of ‘pre-coronavirus’ normality by winter, while 72% disagreed.
On Friday the prime minister appeared to backtrack on the claim, saying that he expected the country to be ‘well past’ coronavirus by the middle of next year.
The polling also found 76% believe a second spike is inevitable, up from 72% in June.
Conducted across six different countries, the poll also showed Britons were more pessimistic about a second wave than the average elsewhere (64%).
In more concerning figures for Number 10, more than two-thirds of respondents, 67%, felt the government ‘seemed to be making up its coronavirus policy as it goes along’.
Johnson’s net favourability also took another hit, dropping to minus 12 in July, down from minus seven percent in June.
But in brighter news for ministers, people who have returned to work are largely finding conditions are better than originally feared.
While just over half (53%) said things were no different, one in three (32%) said conditions were better than they had expected. Only 15% said things were worse than they feared.