New poll finds almost half of Brits think Boris Johnson has over-relaxed coronavirus restrictions

PUBLISHED: 12:56 12 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:21 12 May 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19); PA

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19); PA

PA Wire/PA Images

A new poll has found almost half of the public believe Boris Johnson’s lockdown announcement went too far in easing measures.

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The polling, taken by YouGov after Boris Johnson’s televised address to the nation on Sunday, found 46% of respondents believe the changes go too far in relaxing the rules, compared to 35% who believe the government has struck a good balance, and 10% who said the easing could have gone further.

The poll of more than 6,500 people also discovered that although more respondents backed the latest measure (44%), 43% opposed it. Nine in ten of those say guidelines have been over-eased while just 3% say they did not go far enough.

When YouGov asked participants what they thought of Whitehall’s new “Stay alert, Control the virus, Save lives” messaging, only 30% said the instructions were clear. An overwhelming majority, 91%, say the old slogan was much clearer while 28% said both made sense.

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The data comes as the government faces mounting criticisms over its latest coronavirus messaging. On Monday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the government’s new communication strategy was already ‘unravelling’ after first secretary of state Dominic Raab contradicted the prime minister over when people could return to their workplace.

Chris Curtis, political research manager at YouGov,said: “While the public has so far been overwhelmingly behind the government and its approach to tackling coronavirus, we might now start to see that consensus fracturing.

“Previous polling has highlighted Brits’ concerns about the lockdown ending too quickly and this new research reinforces this view with almost half saying the announced relaxing of the rules goes too far.

“What’s more, the much derided new British government slogan, which YouGov’s snap poll shows many are struggling to understand, alongside the competing advice emanating from each part of the Union, has the potential to sow more confusion in the coming days.”

Answers were also dependant on political persuasions. Conservative voters were twice as likely (48%) as Labour (17%) and Lib Dem voters (18%) to say they understood the new directive.

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