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Britain Barometer March 2021 - Second Edition

1 April 2021

The generational divide: vaccine passports in Britain

The Britain Barometer is our regular polling of public opinion in Britain.  We cover a range of topics including political views and voting intentions, the economy, government policies and emerging issues important to the British public.

As well as this, the UK Barometer finds increasing approval of the government’s handling of COVID-19 and a public that feels that the government could be doing more to make women feel safe in public and online.

Key findings from Kantar Public’s research, which took place between 25 and 29 of March, include:

  • Older people in Britain are much more in favour of compulsory vaccination for adults and “vaccine passports” to allow overseas travel and entry to venues such as stadiums and cinemas than younger people.
  • On average, 63% support a vaccine passport to allow overseas travels into and out of the UK this summer and 26% oppose. 80% of 65+ are in favour compared to just 51% of 18–24-year-olds.
  • Likewise, on average, 57% support idea of a vaccine passport for domestic use and entry to venues like cinemas or stadiums while 30% oppose. Younger people are much more likely to oppose the idea with 42% of 18–34-year-olds saying so, compared to just 16% of 65+.
  • Half of people in Britain think that the vaccine should be compulsory for all adults (51%,+7 vs February)1 – with 61% of 65+ saying so compared to 43% of 18-34s.
  • Despite being less likely to back vaccine passports, younger people are also more likely to think that the government are adjusting restrictions to everyday life too slowly – 37% of 18–34-year-olds say so, compared to 18% of 65+ and the overall average in Britain of 28%.
  • Just one in ten (12%,-2) of people say they definitely / probably would not plan to be vaccinated, down from 23% in December 2020. 18% of 18-34s say they wouldn’t compared to only 8% of 55-64s.

More detailed analysis on themes

1. Attitudes towards the governments handling of the pandemic and the vaccination 

Satisfaction levels with government’s handling of the pandemic are improving:

  • More than three quarters of people (78%,+2) say they are very/somewhat satisfied with the vaccine rollout organised by government and health authorities.
  • 48% of people think that the government are handling the COVID-19 outbreak very/fairly well (+3), while 46% (nc) think the government has handled the outbreak poorly. This is the first time that more people are positive than negative since May 2020.
  • 60% rate the government positively (very good/fairly good) in terms of how they are communicating information about the coronavirus outbreak (+6 vs last month).

However, as vaccine supply tensions with the European Union continue, less than one in three (31%) people rate the cooperation between countries globally in the fight against Coronavirus outbreak as very/fairly good. This is a drop from when this question was previously asked in May 2020, 49% in Britain stated that the cooperation was very/fairly good. 2

2. Moderna Vaccine

Now the Moderna vaccine has been approved to be rolled out in Britain from April – the barometer indicates that the government may have work to do to assure Britons of the effectiveness as it is rolled out.

57% of Britons trust a great deal/somewhat that it is safe and effective, compared to 74% for the Pfizer-BioNTech and 73% for the Oxford-AstraZeneca. This difference in trust is likely due to a lack of familiarity as almost a third of people answered ‘don’t know’ about Moderna (29%), compared with 13% for the Pfizer-BioNtech and 11% for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

3. Public view of government interventions to improve women's safety 

Half of the public (49%) feel the government is doing too little to help women feel safe in public places, with women more likely to say so than men (54% vs 42%). Only 22% think the government is doing enough. Younger people are more likely to think the government is doing “too little” with 59% of 18-24s saying this.

39% think that the government is doing too little to help women feel safe when they use online platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. Women are also more likely to think this than men (42% vs 36%) and younger people are more likely than older people to say the government is doing too little - 47% of 18-34 year olds compared to 36% of people aged 35+.

4. Household economy: Improving conditions

This month’s research shows some notable signs of household-level economic optimism:

  • Nearly a third of people think that economy will be doing better in 12 months’ time (32%, +9), while one in four think it will be worse (26%, -4) and 42% think the same (-6).
  • Compared to 39% in January, now one in four (26%) say it is harder for them to meet their monthly household budget than it was 12 months ago, the same figure as February. Six in ten say it is about the same (60%, -4 compared with February) and 14% say it is easier (+4).
  • Compared to 38% in January, now less than one in three of those in work (30%) say that their job feels “less secure compared to a year ago”: the same as February. This is the lowest figure since the beginning of the pandemic in the UK in March 2020 (26%).
  • Fewer people now report that coronavirus has reduced their personal income: 33% compared to 35% in February and 42% in January.

5. Voting intentions

  • Con 42% (+2 vs February 2021)
  • Lab 34% (+1)
  • L Dem 9% (-2)
  • SNP 7% (+3)
  • Green 4% (-2)
  • Reform UK (formerly Brexit Party) 2% (-1)
  • Plaid Cymru 1% (nc)
  • UKIP 1% (-1)
  • Other 1% (nc)


6. Methodological information

A total of 1,102 interviews were conducted online among adults living in Great Britain between the 25th and 29th March 2021. All interviews were conducted as online self-completion. The Kantar online access panel was the main sample source.

More Britain Barometers

This Britain Barometer was issued under our former global brand name: Kantar Public.  

Richard Crawshaw
Senior Research Scientist United Kingdom

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