Table of Contents

Introduction

How have the public opinions towards the important bodies in charge of tackling COVID-19 changed over the last year? This is a continuation of our longitudinal research, commenced in March. The responses were gathered among 587 respondents across the Republic of Ireland aged between 18 to 64.

Public Bodies

We asked our panel to describe their overall opinion of a number of public bodies. Public opinion towards the EU remains very stable from March to May, with only a slight 3.58% increase in the portion of respondents whose view of the EU is “somewhat favourable”. Similarly, there was a small increase in favourability towards the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). More than a third of respondents (34.92%) were “somewhat favourable”, along approximately 1 in 5 (20.95%) are “very favourable” of NPHET. A small proportion of respondents are unfavourable towards NPHET, with 6.47% of the panel describing their opinion of them as “very unfavourable”.

31.69% of respondents were “somewhat favourable” to the HSE. Interestingly, 14.99% of respondents were “very unfavourable”, compared to only 11.41% who were “very favourable” towards the HSE. This was very similar to the results from March. The Irish Government became slightly more favourable over the two month period. In May, 4.77% of respondents describes their opinion of the government as “very favourable”, over twice as many respondents as in March. It was still the least favourable body among respondents, with 32.2% of respondents having an “very unfavourable” view towards the government.

There was some movement to favourability for the Irish press from March to May but many respondents (34.41%) were still neutral regarding their opinion of the Irish Press (i.e. RTE, Virgin News, Irish Independent). Interestingly, more respondents viewed the press either “very unfavourable” or “somewhat unfavourable” (38.86%), as opposed to viewing the press favourably (32.19%).

Country Comparison

39.69% of the respondents think that Ireland is doing “Good” in relation to combatting COVID-19 compared to other countries, while 7.67% of respondents believe the country is doing “Very Good” compared to other countries. This is a big change from March, when 38.18% viewed Ireland’s performance as “Poor”. In relation to the economic recovery / protection, a third of respondents (33.22%) thought Ireland was doing “Poor” compared to other countries. The portion of respondents who believed  Ireland’s performance was “Very Poor” dropped by almost half, from 30.41% to 16.01%. Another third of respondents were neutral on the issue, while 13.87% think Ireland is doing “good” in relation to economic recovery.

In relation to distributing vaccines, public opinion changed drastically over a two month period. While 45.12% of respondents believe that the country is doing “very poor” in March, in May only 12.95% had the same perspective. 30.66% still consider the country’s effort as “poor”. 29.98% of respondents now consider the distribution of vaccines as “Good” compared to other countries. Similarly on the question regarding the country’s reopening, there was a significant drop in the portion of respondents who felt the country’s performance was “Very Poor”, from 47.77% in March to just 19.08% in May.

Brexit

In regards to Brexit, there wasn’t a significant change in its impact. We asked our respondents “Have you felt the impact of Brexit in any aspect of your life so far?” There was a slight drop in the portion of respondents who answered “No, I haven’t noticed any impact so far” from 49.59% in March to 47.19% in May. There was also an increase in the number whose personal and professional lives have been affected by Brexit, from 14.38% in March to 15.84% in May.

The Future

Finally we asked “Overall, how would you describe your optimism for the future right now? On a scale of 0 (Extremely Pessimistic) to 10 (Extremely Optimistic):” 6 was selected by the highest number of respondents (18.94%), a significant change from March when the mode value was 3. No respondents selected 0 or 1 in May, a significant difference to March when 5.79% of respondents chose 0 to describe their optimism. 17.88% of respondents ranked their optimism as 8 or higher in May, compared to 11.57% in March. From these responses you can see that consumers are generally more optimistic about the future.

Key Takeaways

  • Overall, respondents believe Ireland is performing better in May than March in comparison to other countries across key pandemic related areas. Notably, the portion of our panel who felt that Ireland was performing “Very Poor” in relation to distributing vaccines dropped by almost three quarters, from 45.12% in March to 12.95% in May.
  • There hasn’t been much of a change in how consumers perceive the impact with Brexit, with only a 1.46% difference between March and May in the portion of respondents who have experienced an impact from Brexit on their personal and professional lives.
  • Consumers are more optimistic about the future, with no respondents describing themselves as extremely pessimistic and the mode value for optimism rising from 3 in March to 6 in May.

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