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Public Opinion on Lockdowns

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philosopher

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Throughout the pandemic, opinion polls in the UK have consistently indicated that a large majority of the public support lockdowns to bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control, with support typically being greater than 70%. For example this poll from YouGov on Thursday suggests that 71% of the public think the lockdown should continue even once the risk of the NHS being overwhelmed has ended:

Despite Rishi Sunak's complaints, the vast majority of the public - including Tory voters - would rather lockdown last longer to significantly reduce COVID case numbers (71%) than open up as soon as the immediate danger to the NHS has passed (19%)
EtZX9qdWQAMioLd.jpg

One thing I have noticed is that almost all of the opinion polls on Covid-19 restrictions are from YouGov. I have seen very few opinion polls on the topic from other polling companies such as Ipsos Mori and Opinium.

From what I read on this forum and others, there is some skepticism that support for lockdowns is as high as these polls claim. So the question is do you think these opinion polls are accurate? Do the views expressed in these opinion polls reflect the views of your friends, family and co-workers? If these opinion polls are overstating (or perhaps understating) support for lockdowns, why do you think that is the case?
 
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Darandio

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Targeted questions to a population that have increased time on their hands at the moment to complete the surveys. Consider that many of these people are sitting at home and effectively being paid for the privelege, is it any wonder the majority are happy for it to continue?
 

yorkie

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People who participate in YouGov polls tend to be the sort of people who have far too much time on their hands; most busy working people would not consider participating. They are therefore unrepresentative of any matter in which there may be a disparity between the views of busy people and people who have nothing particularly useful to do with their time. I am sure their polls would be a lot more representative if you ask people questions for which the answers won't be different among those two groups.

I did some back in around May when I had a lot of spare time but I found then to be incredibly tedious and vowed never to do any more of their rotten polls.

The way they are worded is often dubious too.
 

Ianno87

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The wording of the questions....very "loaded" and implying there's a "right" and "wrong" answer....

E.g. you could similarly write "Lockdown should continue even if this means more people out of work in the long term and the economy takes longer to recover".
 

Bantamzen

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Taken from the YouGov website:

Audience Insights, Data and Research (yougov.com)

When you need to strategize and plan, start with YouGov. Our tools and data help you find and define your target audience (or refine an existing one), then build and customize a portrait of what makes them stand out with incomparable detail and ease.
Dig deeper and re-contact target groups with additional questions tailored specifically for you. YouGov makes all this possible with the most advanced consumer research system on the market.

Or in other words, want to find the target audience to give you the answers you want? Choose YouGov...
 

brad465

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In election polling YouGov tends to be fairly accurate, however they do a fair amount of modelling, including in their multi-level regression (MRP) format, to account for unbalanced samples they may not reflect the national picture, particularly if the "shy Tory" phenomena exists.

However, it would not surprise me if no such modelling is done here and the samples are completely unrepresentative, but nothing is done to make them more so. This is also more likely because these are effectively yes/no questions, which is not the case in political party polling.
 

Ianno87

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In election polling YouGov tends to be fairly accurate, however they do a fair amount of modelling, including in their multi-level regression (MRP) format, to account for unbalanced samples they may not reflect the national picture, particularly if the "shy Tory" phenomena exists.

However, it would not surprise me if no such modelling is done here and the samples are completely unrepresentative, but nothing is done to make them more so. This is also more likely because these are effectively yes/no questions, which is not the case in political party polling.

The issue of Lockdowns is such a short term one, they certainly won't have any way of reliably calibrating models to account for sampling bias etc, with such limited historic evidence in a fast changing situation.

Unlike, elections says where there are decades of understanding things like "Shy Tories" and adjusting accordingly.
 

DB

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Targeted questions to a population that have increased time on their hands at the moment to complete the surveys. Consider that many of these people are sitting at home and effectively being paid for the privelege, is it any wonder the majority are happy for it to continue?

Plus many of the public think that the overall risk of Covid, across all age ranges, is considerably higher than it actually is due to government exaggeration and scaremongering. So even many of those who actually are in favour of lockdowns will be basing that view on an incorrect understanding of the situation.
 

dan5324

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Easy to support them when you’re paid to sit on your arse or paid to work from your bed. I have a hunch things would go sour if furlough suddenly disappeared and those working from home were replaced by cheaper people overseas.
 

yorkie

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Let's not forget that lockdowns transfer wealth from predominantly poorer and/or younger and/or working people towards people who are predominately wealthier and/or older and/or retired; they also benefit people who work in jobs that involve working from home, where the person concerned lives in a well proportioned home. The sort of people who own sites such as YouGov will no doubt benefit from lockdowns.

The ordinary down to earth working people that I talk to are not the sort of people who waste their time on loaded YouGov polls.
... account for unbalanced samples they may not reflect the national picture, particularly if the "shy Tory" phenomena exists.... .
I think that a similar phenomenon exists with lockdowns; people only tend to open up with questioning lockdowns if the other party indicates they are also unsupportive (which partly explains why pro-lockdown people claim none of their friends area gainst lockdowns, but there are other factors at play too)
The issue of Lockdowns is such a short term one, they certainly won't have any way of reliably calibrating models to account for sampling bias etc, with such limited historic evidence in a fast changing situation....
Indeed; the likes of YouGov know there is no way to later prove them 'wrong', so they have nothing to lose if their poll gives a misleading result.
Plus many of the public think that the overall risk of Covid, across all age ranges, is considerably higher than it actually is due to government exaggeration and scaremongering. So even many of those who actually are in favour of lockdowns will be basing that view on an incorrect understanding of the situation.
Absolutely; I recall in a recent thread on this forum someone pointed out the average person thinks a much higher proportion of the population have died from it, and also that the average age of a death with Covid is around 65 instead of 82.

I think many people underestimate the risks and negative effects of lockdowns.

Media reporting exacerbates these issues (for example, a 25 year old dying with Covid is deemed much more newsworthy than a 12 year old taking their own life)

I see most of the replies to the YouGov tweet are rightly calling them out. Here are a selection:

Tbh YouGov, I've never thought your polls were accurate or representative of the people. I live in N.I. It is a small place and at present 99% of people I talk to day in and day out want lockdowns to end.

Too many sitting "WORKING" from home with 100% pay not saying a word, cut the money and watch them shouting STOP LOCKDOWN
Blatant lies and manipulation of data You only send polls out to people who previously agreed with the governments view Yougov should be shut down
Genuinely don’t know anyone who wants to lockdown any longer, most if not all are on the edge of breaking mentally, the longer it carries on the mental health issues will grow exponentially and take years if they even can be sorted

This statement is why you completely ignore opinion polls, 'The vast majority of the public' This survey was of 4,318 'random' members of the public apparently which represents 0.00079% of the adult population, and yet we are expected to believe it represents us all
These yougov polls always seem to be from people in a parallel reality. Are these really parents voting to further ruin their children, businessmen voting to bankrupt their businesses, young people voting not to live their lives? Really? All of them want more lockdown?

Do you only ask certain people these questions? This has never come up on my app! Are you just asking the ones who will give you the reply you want or making it up?

The second option is manipulatively worded. "Even if it means some people will die..." The assertion that lockdowns reduce cases is also not proven.

Who the hell did they ask for this survey...Lockdowns Kill

They'd also probably vote to bring back hanging. Time to re-open society and stop the nonsense, end self-harming the economy and people's lives. Too easy for furloughers and pollsters to sit back.
Nobody believes @YouGov they only ask pertinent questions of the people who will give them the answers they seek #falseprophets

Do these “polls” have any credibility any more ? Just look at the questions not the headline and make your own mind up.

Who actually answers your polls ? Not me I look every day on your site and have NEVER been asked to take part in one . And I can tell you now your popular response would not be mine .

This poll is complete BS. YouGov's co-founder is Nadhim Zahawi, the vax 'Tzar'. Qns after 1st vote incl: - Fave political party & newspaper - Empl. status - Highest education - Brexit vote - If voted in the '19 GE Some are INVITED to vote in other polls. Profiling, much?

Really??? Im not meeting these people, gotta be making it up!

The vast majority of the public (99.99%) did not participate in this poll.

I don’t know anyone who wants lockdown, I just don’t believe this

The only people that want this hell to continue are those sitting at home on full pay. The group doing this, are mainly public employees, who will be saving a fortune in child care and travel costs.

By vast majority you mean those happily at home on Furlough. For the millions of business owners/Directors & industries that have received zero financial support imagine they are pretty keen for lockdown to be lifted ASAP b4 they are forced to shut down & release staff

Who the hell are you polling other than those in the public sector on 100% salaries and secure jobs?

another fixed poll.

Don't believe this.

Rubbish!!

Cannot believe this.

Don't believe this for one second.

Utter rubbish

Well if you are polling people on furlough being paid to watch daytime tv what else would you expect?


You gov is a very poor indicator of true public opinion. They give rewards for opinions and generally the things they ask about are trashy

The civil service part who get 100% of their wages maybe but not the private sector. Another sham poll..!

You manipulate your polls. I know many, many tory voters and all of us have had enough. We can all see the devastation our kids will inherit.


Liars. Why do you continue the lies?
 
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Кряква

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My personal opinion is that the polls being true or not is almost irrelevant.

If it is the case that 75% of the public are disenfranchising the other 25% for their personal benefit, then we have a broken political system.

If a poll supporting the reintroduction of apartheid had a 75% majority, would educated people be cheering that on?
 

Domh245

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The other thing to remember is that a lot of people seem to think that lockdown means "lockdown everyone apart from me, and close all the businesses apart from the ones I want to go to" - we saw a similar phenomenon when masks were introduced in shops when all the polling supposedly showed huge support for it, but you wouldn't have believed it if you went around your local supermarket as very few people were wearing face coverings until they were required to do so.
 

Skimpot flyer

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Throughout the pandemic, opinion polls in the UK have consistently indicated that a large majority of the public support lockdowns to bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control, with support typically being greater than 70%. For example this poll from YouGov on Thursday suggests that 71% of the public think the lockdown should continue even once the risk of the NHS being overwhelmed has ended:


View attachment 90083

One thing I have noticed is that almost all of the opinion polls on Covid-19 restrictions are from YouGov. I have seen very few opinion polls on the topic from other polling companies such as Ipsos Mori and Opinium.

From what I read on this forum and others, there is some skepticism that support for lockdowns is as high as these polls claim. So the question is do you think these opinion polls are accurate? Do the views expressed in these opinion polls reflect the views of your friends, family and co-workers? If these opinion polls are overstating (or perhaps understating) support for lockdowns, why do you think that is the case?
The inaccuracy of opinion polls has made me a lot of money in the past, particularly Cameron winning an outright majority after being in coalition. Polls indicated it was not possible. Bet365 offered 6/1 odds which was a nice result.
I also backed Trump (vs Clinton)
Leave (vs Remain) and Corbyn to win more than 100 seats, all of which the polls got wrong
 

Ianno87

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My personal opinion is that the polls being true or not is almost irrelevant.

If it is the case that 75% of the public are disenfranchising the other 25% for their personal benefit, then we have a broken political system.

Polls like this are just divisive and unhelpful. Either way around, it's easy to say "Yes" when the consequences of "No" don't fall on you, and vice-versa.
 

island

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I took a trip to Lewisham this morning (reasonable excuse: to comply with a legal obligation, namely to renew the photograph on my driving licence), and but for face coverings and a few closed shops and pubs, you wouldn't have known anything was different from a year ago. Bustling outdoor market, loads of people sitting and standing around chatting, and no attempts at any physical distancing.

I think the general public are generally supportive of lockdowns, to the extent that they feel other people should be locked down.
 

bramling

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I think the general public are generally supportive of lockdowns, to the extent that they feel other people should be locked down.

Nail firmly hit on head.

In a lot of cases it’s just too convenient that it’s too dangerous to go to work, not too dangerous to do other stuff.
 

Ianno87

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I took a trip to Lewisham this morning (reasonable excuse: to comply with a legal obligation, namely to renew the photograph on my driving licence), and but for face coverings and a few closed shops and pubs, you wouldn't have known anything was different from a year ago. Bustling outdoor market, loads of people sitting and standing around chatting, and no attempts at any physical distancing.

I think London (esp the Zone 2-4 inner suburbs) is a bit of a "bubble" in this respect, as being out and "social" is so intrinsically part of life there.
 

Кряква

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I think London (esp the Zone 2-4 inner suburbs) is a bit of a "bubble" in this respect, as being out and "social" is so intrinsically part of life there.
Right. Many of us have deliberately chosen to live in smaller/more crowded housing situations in order to be in and amongst the buzz of the city.

If I wanted to watch Netflix I'd buy a house in the cheapest part of a depressed post-industrial town, plug myself into the wall and retire. Lockdown is the antithesis of metropolitan life.
 
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Mag_seven

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I think the best "poll" on how popular lockdown is, is to look outside on a sunny day.

i.e. "actions speak louder than words".

Nail firmly hit on head.

In a lot of cases it’s just too convenient that it’s too dangerous to go to work, not too dangerous to do other stuff.

Its far too dangerous to pack into a crowded train to go to work, but not so dangerous if its a crowded train going to Bournemouth. ;)
 
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bramling

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I think London (esp the Zone 2-4 inner suburbs) is a bit of a "bubble" in this respect, as being out and "social" is so intrinsically part of life there.

Most of my town seemed have gone for a day out in WH Smith’s today, which was irritating for me as I needed to buy a fountain pen!

i.e. "actions speak louder than words".



Its far too dangerous to pack into a crowded train to go to work, but not so dangerous if its a crowded train going to Bournemouth. ;)

Exactly this. The government is too weak to address this mismatch.
 

OxtedL

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Just to offer an alternative view here, because we're all at risk of living in an echo chamber.

To answer the OPs question:
Do the views expressed in these opinion polls reflect the views of your friends, family and co-workers?
Yes, the views in the poll reflect my opinion, the views of my family, the views of my friends, and the views of any colleague I have discussed it with.

For me, this sub-forum is a weird reverse echo chamber where I can go to read the strange views of people who have a different understanding of the public health crisis to me. Here and also occasionally twitter.

I haven't yet worked out what it is about rail enthusiasts that would make them so polar opposite to everyone else I know. I suspect there's a fair bit of self selection in terms of who is actually posting in the covid forum and the views here don't necessarily match the wider community.

I think if you are the kind of person who is strongly anti-lockdown you may be overthinking public enthusiasm for lockdowns though. The survey, even if accurate, isn't suggesting 75% of people want to stay locked in their homes for weeks on end voluntarily. No-one wants to be in lockdown. No-one particularly wants to be wearing masks on public transport or in supermarkets. As someone else commented upthread, large numbers of people weren't doing those things until they were compelled to, even if they thought it was a good idea for everyone else to be doing it.
We're all doing it now because scientists have (correctly) informed us that there is literally no good alternative, the government have agreed, and there's now no other option but to quietly get on with it until things get better.
 

yorksrob

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We're all doing it now because scientists have (correctly) informed us that there is literally no good alternative, the government have agreed, and there's now no other option but to quietly get on with it until things get better.

Possibly forever then, by that logic.

At what point do you and your associates decide "this isn't working, we need to get on with things" ?
 

DB

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We're all doing it now because scientists have (correctly) informed us that there is literally no good alternative, the government have agreed, and there's now no other option but to quietly get on with it until things get better.

That is one bunch of scientists, not 'scientists' universally - plenty of respected scientists with relevant expertise do not agree with the approach being taken.

I find this unquestioning belief in the government and its chosen scientists to be rather bizarre. Do you not ever look at the stats worldwide and wonder why there is absolutely no correlation between how draconian a country had been and how many cases / deaths it has? Do you not wonder why there is no or an inverse correlation between mask mandates and number of cases in the following weeks?
 

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Indeed. Even the WHO policy is that lockdowns should be used as a last resort, rather than as a semi-permanent lifestyle directive, as SAGE seem to think.
 

DB

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Indeed. Even the WHO policy is that lockdowns should be used as a last resort, rather than as a semi-permanent lifestyle directive, as SAGE seem to think.

And the WHO approach is down to political pressure - prior to this they never recommended lockdowns, masks or any of the other dystopian measures we are seeing at all, in any circumstances.
 

island

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Just to offer an alternative view here, because we're all at risk of living in an echo chamber.

To answer the OPs question:

Yes, the views in the poll reflect my opinion, the views of my family, the views of my friends, and the views of any colleague I have discussed it with.

For me, this sub-forum is a weird reverse echo chamber where I can go to read the strange views of people who have a different understanding of the public health crisis to me. Here and also occasionally twitter.
I will just add that all of my family and social circles with the exception of this forum are of the same view. I am much closer to this forum's opinions, but I cannot really share that elsewhere because I will get squashed.
I haven't yet worked out what it is about rail enthusiasts that would make them so polar opposite to everyone else I know. I suspect there's a fair bit of self selection in terms of who is actually posting in the covid forum and the views here don't necessarily match the wider community.
It is possible that those who are of a different view are put off posting here; any contrary views tend to get ganged up upon and hounded. Such is the nature of internet echo chambers.
 

yorkie

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Yes, the views in the poll reflect my opinion...
They clearly do not; look at how many people are out and about. Many of us speak to a diverse range of people who take a different view.

, the views of my family, the views of my friends, and the views of any colleague I have discussed it with.
I don't think your friends and family are representative, sorry.

As for colleagues, I suspect these are people who are enjoying working from home.

And as I said before, people don't tend to admit they are against lockdowns with people who are pro-lockdown as they tend not to want to fall out with people, generally.

For me, this sub-forum is a weird reverse echo chamber where I can go to read the strange views of people who have a different understanding of the public health crisis to me. Here and also occasionally twitter.
For me, posts like yours could be described that way, and yes they are on Twitter too ;)

I think you are probably isolated from many of the negative effects of lockdowns.

I haven't yet worked out what it is about rail enthusiasts that would make them so polar opposite to everyone else I know. I suspect there's a fair bit of self selection in terms of who is actually posting in the covid forum and the views here don't necessarily match the wider community.
I doubt many, if any of the people I quoted above on Twitter are rail enthusiasts, nor are the people I speak to through working in an educational environment (including people who are employed in a wide range of jobs), and for that matter this forum is not just frequented by rail enthusiasts either.

There is no link there.

I think if you are the kind of person who is strongly anti-lockdown you may be overthinking public enthusiasm for lockdowns though. The survey, even if accurate, isn't suggesting 75% of people want to stay locked in their homes for weeks on end voluntarily. No-one wants to be in lockdown. No-one particularly wants to be wearing masks on public transport or in supermarkets.
Ah, that old chestnut again! I don't buy it. There is an element of truth in what you say insofar as this is about restricting others (as mentioned in posts above) and not themselves; in other words many of the people who are pro-lockdown are really trying to restrict what others can do and/or trying to avoid going into work while not actually staying at home constantly themselves. People who support lockdowns cannot hide behind the "no-one wants to be locked down" argument; it's a bogus argument. If you support it, you support it, and you share responsibility for the consequences. No excuses.

As someone else commented upthread, large numbers of people weren't doing those things until they were compelled to, even if they thought it was a good idea for everyone else to be doing it.
We're all doing it now because scientists have (correctly) informed us that there is literally no good alternative, the government have agreed, and there's now no other option but to quietly get on with it until things get better.
There clearly are alternatives, as proven by other countries.

That is one bunch of scientists, not 'scientists' universally - plenty of respected scientists with relevant expertise do not agree with the approach being taken.
Absolutely. People who are pro-lockdown are selective about which scientists they want to listen to, those are collective known as "scientists" and their beliefs are "the science".

Anyone who quotes alternative scientists are typically questioned about their own credentials. It's all so predictable!

I find that the scientists that are most worth listening to are those that take a holistic approach and consider the wider picture; those that advocate lockdowns generally have a one-track mind and typically dismiss or underestimate the downsides of lockdowns. I therefore do not trust people who have suchb one dimensional views, nor do I trust people who have been discredited such as Ferguson et al.

I will just add that all of my family and social circles with the exception of this forum are of the same view. I am much closer to this forum's opinions, but I cannot really share that elsewhere because I will get squashed.
I think this is probably because we are predominantly left of centre in political circles, and therefore are likely to have friends & family who are left leaning.

See the other thread about left v right and authoritarian v libertarian for the full analysis but in summary, a lot of groups of friends who are of a similar political view may err towards the views of others in their political circles. Many people have tried to push the narrative that left wing means supporting lockdowns; I do not agree with this but many people do go with it.

But for me and you (and many others that I know), we value freedoms greatly and are able to detach the separate authoritarianism vs libertarianism issues from left vs right issues. We are also looking at the bigger picture and are not easily led by the views of a particular political party or their supporters.

Possibly forever then, by that logic.

At what point do you and your associates decide "this isn't working, we need to get on with things" ?
People who are entrenched are unlikely to change their views, especially when subject to peer pressure from people in their circles who often have a similar political view and a loyalty towards the views of people in those circles.

Many on the left are very keen to portray lockdown support as compulsory for people on the left, and this does mean that some people who are more easily led and less able to look at the bigger picture will blindly go with that. I have spoken to many people who see themselves as left of centre who felt politically homeless and felt awkward for being against lockdowns as if it was against what they were 'supposed' to think; I believe that it has been very liberating for many people, including myself, to understand that it is not a left v right thing at all and that there are many many others who feel the same way but are often silent.

And the WHO approach is down to political pressure - prior to this they never recommended lockdowns, masks or any of the other dystopian measures we are seeing at all, in any circumstances.
Agreed; the WHO do not recommend lockdowns although they do advocate their use as a last resort.
 
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bramling

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Just to offer an alternative view here, because we're all at risk of living in an echo chamber.

To answer the OPs question:

Yes, the views in the poll reflect my opinion, the views of my family, the views of my friends, and the views of any colleague I have discussed it with.

For me, this sub-forum is a weird reverse echo chamber where I can go to read the strange views of people who have a different understanding of the public health crisis to me. Here and also occasionally twitter.

I haven't yet worked out what it is about rail enthusiasts that would make them so polar opposite to everyone else I know. I suspect there's a fair bit of self selection in terms of who is actually posting in the covid forum and the views here don't necessarily match the wider community.

I think if you are the kind of person who is strongly anti-lockdown you may be overthinking public enthusiasm for lockdowns though. The survey, even if accurate, isn't suggesting 75% of people want to stay locked in their homes for weeks on end voluntarily. No-one wants to be in lockdown. No-one particularly wants to be wearing masks on public transport or in supermarkets. As someone else commented upthread, large numbers of people weren't doing those things until they were compelled to, even if they thought it was a good idea for everyone else to be doing it.
We're all doing it now because scientists have (correctly) informed us that there is literally no good alternative, the government have agreed, and there's now no other option but to quietly get on with it until things get better.

One could quite reasonably make the point that the answer to your question as to why this forum seems to buck the trend could well be that many of the people posting here have quite clearly taken the trouble to better inform themselves about the pandemic than the average joe on the street.

This is supported by the fact that surveys have shown on numerous occasions that many people have incorrect beliefs about many of the Covid statistics, for example average age of death and probability of mortality.

Some of the postings on this board are extremely well evidenced and thought through, and indeed I’ve found many rather persuasive. Indeed the last year has also shown much of it to be pretty prophetic.
 
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