Jacinda Ardern and Ashley Bloomfield arrive at the Beehive press conference to announce a decision on alert levels, February 2021 (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Exclusive poll: NZ support for Covid-19 response remains sky high

The eighth in a series of polls by Stickybeak for The Spinoff shows popular sentiment remains strongly in favour of the NZ approach to the pandemic.

Ten days out from the anniversary of the day New Zealand reported its first positive case of Covid-19, with the first batch of vaccines set to be administered on the weekend and Auckland exiting its third virus-triggered lockdown, new polling by Stickybeak for The Spinoff shows public backing for the government’s response to the crisis undimmed.

The government response

Despite the leakages at the Pullman isolation hotel and the emergence on Sunday of new community cases in Auckland – the origin of which remains unknown – support for the overall government response is sky high, with 78% of respondents positive (don’t email me, mathematicians: the numbers in the chart below are rounded).

Presumably with half an eye on the devastation in parts of the world wrought by the coronavirus, well over half of the total, 59%, gave the government the top mark, excellent, in the nationally representative survey, which was conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

That’s up from 75% the last time two times we polled, almost six months ago, amid the “Auckland August cluster” which led to several weeks at level three for New Zealand’s largest city and saw 179 positive cases recorded.

Here’s how the sentiment has changed over time …

Again, with the outbreaks located in Auckland, the measures imposed in the region were tougher. We can break down the results to see how the level of support differs between those in Auckland and the rest of the country.

In a similar vein to our last poll, the support in Auckland was greater than the rest of the country, with 62% judging the overall response “excellent”. At the same time, slightly more Auckland respondents thought the response “terrible”. Perhaps because of the more pronounced impact of the outbreaks and the measures taken on the city, residents are likelier to have a strong view.

The latest decisions

On Sunday evening the prime minister announced that Auckland would be placed in a level three lockdown, and the remainder of the country go into level two restrictions, for 72 hours as of midnight. First up, we asked: “how strongly do you support or oppose the decision to move Auckland to alert level three?”

Almost four in five backed the decision. Here’s how it breaks down, looking at nationwide, Auckland and outside-Auckland.

And what of the rest of the country moving to level two? Views here were less overwhelmingly supportive, at 68%, but broadly uniform according to the respondents’ region.

We’ll have more from the poll, including views on the managed isolation and quarantine system and the imminent vaccination programme, in the coming days.

About the study

Respondents were self-selecting participants, recruited via Facebook and Instagram.

A total of n=601 sample was achieved of adults in New Zealand, with 208 of those in Auckland.

Results in this report are weighted by age, gender and region to statistics from the 2018 Census.

For a random sample of this size and after accounting for weighting the maximum sampling error (using 95% confidence) is approximately ±4%.

The study went into the field on Tuesday February 16 and was completed on Wednesday February 17.

Numbers are rounded, so will not always add to 100%.

About Stickybeak

Stickybeak is a New Zealand startup launched globally last June, that uses chatbots to make quantitative market research more conversational and therefore less boring and even fun for respondents. Unlike conventional research which uses panels of professional paid responders, Stickybeak recruits unique respondents fresh for each survey via social media.

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