One in six people in G7 report having already lost at least half their income due to coronavirus

In the second wave of our study, we found that approval levels of government are declining and levels of dissatisfaction match satisfaction levels for key government actions.
17 April 2020
g7 citizen impact
Michelle Harrison
Dr Michelle

CEO, Public Division

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Findings from Kantar’s research which took place between 9 and 13 April include:

  • Across the G7, approval of governments’ response to the pandemic fell 4 percentage points to 50% (strongly/somewhat approve). Approval is lowest in USA (46%), France (43%) and Japan (30%)
  • 72% (+1% pts1) of people in G7 say their personal income has or will be impacted by Coronavirus. This is highest in Italy (85%, nc1), Canada (77%, +21) and USA (75%, nc1)
  • Of those who report that their incomes have already been impacted (37%), 44% report to have had a loss of half or more. This equates to 16% of people in the G7
  • Across the G7, only 21% think there will be a return to normal life in April, May or June 2020, and 72% think it will take longer than this.

Kantar conducted this G7 citizen impact and public opinion study online to support social distancing protocols. The study asked questions on personal response, personal impact, personal and household financial impact, perceptions of and understanding of government advice, perceptions of government response, most trusted information source and perceptions of potential interventions to the virus. Other findings from this G7 study include:

As the pandemic progresses, assessment of government policy and action is almost evenly split between those who express satisfaction, and those who disapprove of their government’s response. Across the G7, 42% think their government’s response has been about right, while 44% believe the measures put in place by their government have not gone far enough to combat the pandemic. Notably, 74% of Japan’s citizens don’t believe their government has gone far enough

Following their government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, when asked about their trust in their government to make the right decisions in the future, 54% (-5) of people in the G7 say that they trust them to some extent, compared to 40% (+5) who don’t. 6% don’t know.

  • People continue to favour protection of public health over the economy, despite the personal economic impacts being reported across the G7. Over a third of people (36%, +7) of people still think that their government is placing too much emphasis on protecting the country’s economy, and not enough on protecting people’s health. 19% (no change) think they are placing too much emphasis on protecting people’s health and not enough on the economy. One third (33%, -4) think they have got the balance right, and 13% (-2) don’t know.
  • 48% of people in the G7 rate the support provided by their government for people facing a loss of income as very or fairly good.46% rate the support as very or fairly poor. Ratings were most positive in Canada (77%) and GB (70%).
  • Similarly, 45% rate government performance at supporting businesses who face closure and income losses as fairly or very good, compared to 47% who rate it poorly.

Look to the future

  • One in four people in the G7 (26%) think that when the coronavirus outbreak is over, the way people live their everyday lives will be ‘completely different’. This is highest in Italy (34%) and the USA (29%).
  • Almost four in ten (38%) people think that their national economy will be completely different with the coronavirus outbreak is over. This is highest in Italy (55%).
  • One in four people in the G7 (24%) think that the national social welfare system in their country will be completely different when the outbreak is over. This is highest in Italy (30%) and the USA (29%).

The findings are based on research of over 7,000 people, and measuring the economic impact of COVID-19 at the personal level in terms of economic impact, alongside understanding levels of support and compliance amongst citizens, is crucial for government policy to be able to respond and plan for the future, and for societies to be able to recover sustainably. As the pandemic continues and trust in government response is tested, this ongoing research provides a unique look at the situation in society: the G7 public still support a focus on actions to protect public health over the economy, despite the real and deepening personal economic impact being felt. Kantar’s Social Response and Recovery programmes are supporting governments around the world to understand the impact of the pandemic, develop new policies in response and plan for a resilient recovery.

Notes to editors

Additional findings and methodology:

Trust of media

  • TV news remains stated as the most trusted source of reliable information about the virus in Japan (46%, nc), Italy (35%, -2), France (34%, +1), Germany (33%, +2).
  • In Great Britain, government and politicians (28%, +4) and TV news (28%, nc) are equally seen as most trusted source of reliable information and 30% (+3) of people in Canada think government and politicians are most trusted. In the US, healthcare provider is most trusted at 31% (no change)

How different population groups are experiencing the pandemic

  • People aged between 16 and 34 are more likely to have experienced an impact on their personal finances as a result of coronavirus. 45% of those ages 16-34 report an impact, compared to 35% aged 55-64 and 21% of those aged 65 and over.
  • Older people are more likely to think that the government have got the balance right between protecting the economy and people’s health. 40% of 65+ and 42% of 55-64-year old’s think so, compared to 24% of 16-34-year old’s.
  • 2 in 5 of people aged 16-34 think that the government in their country is putting too much emphasis on protecting the economy and not enough on protecting health, compared to 23% who think the economy should be emphasized more.

Behavioural shifts at the individual level

  • There is an increase in the amount of people in the G7 who rate the behaviour of fellow citizens in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak as good, from 52% to 60%
  • 84% (-1) of people in the G7 think that asking people to stay in their homes as much as possible is effective in helping reduce the spread of the coronavirus
  • 64% (+9) are avoiding visits to elderly and vulnerable relatives and friends. This is highest in Italy (82%) and lowest in Japan (42%).

International cooperation?

  • When asked about the cooperation between countries globally in response to the pandemic, 51% (-4) in the G7 rate this as very or fairly good. This is highest in GB (63%, +1) and Canada (59%, -12) and the US (59%, -6)
  • Citizens of the European countries of the G7 (France, Germany, Italy and Great Britain) were asked to rate the cooperation between European countries in response to the outbreak. 51% rate it as very or fairly good (-2).
  • 52% of the European G7 citizens trust the European Union to make the right decisions in the future, based on their response to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • 43% of European citizen think that the European Union will be weaker when the outbreak is over, compared to 19% who say stronger, 27% who say the same as before and 11% who answered don’t know.

Methodological information

The survey data is available here. Please contact us for further details on the methodological approach.

A total of 7,006 interviews were conducted online among adults (16+) living in the G7 nations of Canada (1,000), France (1,000), Germany (1,000), Italy (1,001), Japan (1,003), Great Britain (1,001) and the USA (1,001) between the 9th and 13th April 2020. Interviews were conducted online using the Kantar online access panel as the sample source.

The data was weighted to match population totals for age, gender and education for each country. For the results across all G7 nations – the countries have been weighted according to their population sizes.

Any use of this research must cite Kantar as the source.

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