Scottish Social Attitudes: Attitudes to Scotland’s handling of the pandemic
This module from the Scottish Social Attitudes survey focuses on public views towards the handling of the pandemic in Scotland.
This report presents findings from the 2021/22 Scottish Social Attitudes survey (SSA), conducted between October 2021 and March 2022. It focusses on attitudes towards the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland and seeks to address the following key questions:
- What attitudes do people in Scotland hold towards how well the Scottish Government handled the pandemic and how does this differ between different subgroups?
- How do the people in Scotland evaluate Scotland’s readiness to handle another pandemic in the future and to what extent is this likely influenced by people’s political views, social trust and overall trust in the Scottish Government?
Key findings from this year’s ‘Attitudes to Scotland’s handling of the pandemic’ report are:
Views on the use of data and science during the pandemic
- Around two thirds (67%) trusted the data provided in Scotland during the pandemic about the spread of coronavirus ‘a great deal/quite a lot’
- While both were high, a lower proportion of people trusted information from the Scottish Government ‘just about always/most of the time’ (74%) compared with information given by scientists (81%).
Government procedural justice (relationship between authority and the people)
- Overall, just under two-thirds (65%) felt that the Scottish Government understood the impact of the restrictions on people’s lives ‘very/fairly well’. Women were more likely than men to have this perception (70% compared with 59%).
- Over two-fifths (44%) felt that the government had been ‘very/fairly good’ at listening to people’s views about how to best handle the coronavirus pandemic, while a fifth (20%) felt they had been ‘fairly/very bad’.
Views on how properly prepared Scotland is for another pandemic
- Nearly a third (31%) felt ‘not at all/not very confident’ that Scotland was properly prepared for another pandemic while over two thirds (68%) felt ‘fairly/very confident’ about this.
- When controlling for other variables, party political affiliation was found to be a key driver of confidence in whether Scotland would be properly prepared for another pandemic. The odds of a Conservative supporter saying that they felt ‘not very/not at all confident’ in Scotland’s preparedness for another pandemic were almost four times greater (OR endnote 1 =3.6) than those whose affiliation was with the Scottish National Party (SNP) while the odds of a Labour supporter were almost three times greater (OR=2.7).
Associations between trust, social support and attitudes towards the handling of the pandemic
- Most of the attitudes towards Scotland’s handling of the pandemic varied according to people’s general trust in others and perceptions of social support. For example, trust in the data provided during the pandemic and feeling that the Scottish Government understood the impact of the restrictions were higher among those who felt that ‘most people can be trusted’ and those who agreed that they had people in their area to turn to for support.
Scottish Social Attitudes is run by ScotCen Social Research and this module has been funded by the Scottish Government.
Every year, we ask 1,200-1,500 people to take part in Scottish Social Attitudes on the basis of random probability sampling.
This technique ensures that everyone has an equal chance of being picked to take part, so the results are representative of the Scottish population.
Data are then weighted in order to correct for non-response bias and differential selection probabilities to ensure that they reflect the age-sex profile of the Scottish population.
About the Scottish Social Attitudes survey
SSA has been a face-to-face survey since 1999 but last year (2021/22), due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey was conducted over the phone.
For other Scottish Social Attitudes reports, visit our SSA research page.
The Odds Ratio (OR) is a statistic that represents the likelihood of an individual having a score of ‘1’ on the outcome variable (as opposed to ‘0’) from their responses to the predictor variables. In this case the odds of a Conservative supporter being ‘not very/not at all confident’ in Scotland’s preparedness for another pandemic (compared with a SNP supporter which is the base category). This is explained further in the SSA 2021/22 Attitudes to Scotland’s handling of the pandemic - Technical information.