Our society still gives credit to the government’s measures regarding the coronavirus and evaluates them well compared to the situation in many other countries. This is probably due to the known liberality of these measures, as well as the feeling that part of the panic is being imposed unnecessarily. The society however finds other quite real problems and chaos – as it shows in the public opinion and its fears. For now, health problems remain more visible to the public and more moderate in the economy.
The conclusions are from our new wave of express polling about the coronavirus. It was carried out between 12th and 15th of November among 810 adult Bulgarians.
In mid-November, 23.8% chose the option “Coronavirus is a deadly danger to humanity and one of the most terrible things that people have experienced.” 53.2% choose the calmer statement: “The coronavirus is dangerous, but in the end it’s just a strong flu.” 21.1% accept the most calm or even contemptuous: “The coronavirus is not a serious danger and the tension around it is rather noise and panic.”
Traditionally, the moderately anxious reaction prevails. Weeks ago, however, there were also some signs of polarization – the two extreme options seemed to increase in weight. Now a small increase in anxiety is visible: the contemptuous extreme seems to be losing ground, and the extremely anxious reaction seems to be growing. Whether there will be a deepening of the alarm will eventually be shown by further waves of polling.
In mid-November, there is no significant change from the previous wave of polling – a total of 44.4% fully agrees (15.5%) or rather agrees (26.9%) that the government is doing well with the coronavirus situation. A total of 54% disagrees (29.5%) or completely disagrees (24.5%).The assessment, of course, is significantly lower compared to the one in March, when the measures were first introduced – when there was a record increase in confidence in the authorities around the world, associated with high fears. And now, however, society seems to be somewhat inclined to separate the topics of “politics” and “coronavirus” and the government’s assessments of the coronavirus are balanced, in contrast to the negative political assessments. Of course, there is political influence in the assessment of coronavirus measures, but at least for now there are no extremes on this criterion, although society remains divided into two similar parts in its opinion.
The latter is also visible in another indicator: 53.8% agree that Bulgaria is doing relatively well compared to many other countries. 37.5% disagree. At the beginning of the pandemic, this belief reached almost unanimity, but the fact that even now it is shared by the majority is indicative that the society in our country is tolerant of the measures that are being taken. This is probably due to the known tolerance of the measures themselves.
According to the well known from school six-point scale, the grades for various institutions during the corona crisis are relatively “good”, as they are naturally higher for the medical authorities and lower for the administration.
As is often the case, personal assessments are better than those of the institutions, which is why the share of those who think that Borissov will cope with the crisis is slightly larger – almost half of the respondents think so. However, almost 40% are of the other opinion. The public hope that our society on itself will do well – which has nowhere else to project except on the current top leadership – probably plays a role here.
“I have already lost my job as a result of the crisis,” say 6.9%, and another 4.3% find an immediate danger of losing their jobs. There are 18.6% who are not without a job, but their income has fallen sharply, and 15.6% expect a decrease in income, although they remain at work.
The pandemic has not affected and is not expected to affect share 45.1% of the respondents. By the way, there are 7.4% who claim that their income has even increased in recent months. There is also a small share of hesitants. These are symptoms that may show that the economic picture in our country is not perceived so badly, against the background of the prospects that emerged in the spring, for example.
Public climate: is panic unnecessary?
76.5% share the opinion that the system could have been better prepared in the summer months. This opinion weighs heavily, although the majority (65.5%), which appreciates the fact that the health authorities are making serious efforts and concerns, is also serious. 76.2% share a fear that they may not be able to rely on the health system if necessary – there is no positive change compared to the survey results from two weeks ago. 54.3% agree that there is a shortage of medicines.
At the same time, 76.9% find that the media creates unnecessary panic. This result is stronger than the previous wave of research. 62.5% still see the blame for the panic mainly in the institutions.
In the end, it turns out that the anxiety and critique to the authorities in our country are serious and they are obviously due to the feeling of chaos. At the same time, however, Bulgarians clearly see the danger of overexposing the problems.
The idea of donating plasma, which is increasingly heard and has become an occasion for debate over the call of Minister Karakachanov, for example, is highly appreciated. 29.8% accept it very positively, and 43.4% rather positively. Thus, a total of 73.2% are positive – against 11% rather negative and 9.7% very negative. Time will tell whether this sign of public solidarity will spread in practice among broad sections of society.
CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing); national representative sample (810 effective interviews) for the population aged 18+ г. 12-15.11.2020 . 1% equals about 55 000 people. Absolute maximum error ±3.3 at 50% shares.