Britain

Public support for Boris Johnson’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic plummets – poll

Support for the government's handling of coronavirus has dropped sharply since the prime minister's address to the nation last weekend.

For the first time, more people think the government's approach to the epidemic is going badly than is going well, according to a YouGov poll seen by Sky News.

The data shows that at the end of last week 49% thought the government was doing badly, and 47% that it was doing well.

Majority think handling of crisis is poor

This comes after weeks of the public endorsing Mr Johnson's lockdown strategy.

Support for his handling peaked in the days after he gave the announcement to the nation to stay at home on 23 March, with 72% of those polled saying the government was doing well, 21% badly.

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The figures stayed high through March, April and the start of May.

The switch will trigger alarm bells because the government needs the consent of the public more than in normal times.

More from Boris Johnson

The data reveals there is now a big age divide. In all the age groups under 50, more think the government is doing badly, while in all age groups over 50, more think the government is doing well. There are also big regional divides.

Police monitor a gathering of people at Highbury Park in Birmingham,
Image: 54% of those polled said the easing of the lockdown had gone too far

People in London and Scotland – two areas that have seen a large number of COVID-19 cases – now think the government is doing badly. The rest of Britain has more people saying the government has been doing well.

Also, more than one in five people who voted for the Conservative Party in December – 22% – say Mr Johnson's government is handling this badly.

The new coronavirus slogans unveiled by Boris Johnson
Image: Many of those questioned wanted more detailed advice from the government

Asked if they support or oppose the changes last weekend, 36% say they back them, while 49% say they are opposed.

Asked how they would change them, 54% think the changes go too far in loosening the lockdown, 8% want restrictions eased further and 29% say the balance is about right, while 9% are unsure.

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