HALIFAX, April 23, 2020: As Atlantic Canada completed its fifth week in a state of emergency and social distancing, Narrative Research reached out to its East Coast Voice online panel to assess public perceptions and behaviours related to COVID-19. More than 3,200 Atlantic Canadians shared their point of view, and the following provides the first of four research summaries that will be provided over the next week.
RESPONSE TO COVID-19 OUTBREAK
Across the region, results indicate that Atlantic Canadians are satisfied with the response of the provincial government, the federal government and the healthcare system in terms of their responses to the COVID-19 crisis. Indeed, across each province, more than eight in ten residents express some level of satisfaction. Minimal dissatisfaction is evident, with only one in ten voicing some level of dissatisfaction. Results are remarkably consistent across the region, regardless of age, household income or gender.
Within the past month each provincial premier and chief health professional has been involved extensively in providing regular public updates on the pandemic. Accordingly, the survey asked Atlantic Canadians how satisfied they were with the performance of both their Premier and Chief Medical Officer in responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
Once again, Atlantic Canadians in each province voice overall satisfaction with the performance of both their Premier and their Chief Medical Officer’s response, with nine in ten residents reporting some level of satisfaction. Satisfaction is marginally higher among females versus males, and satisfaction levels increase slightly with household income and age.
“During challenging times like these, strong leadership is essential in weathering the storm. These results suggest that across our region, Atlantic Canadians are confident in the abilities of our leaders,” said Margaret Brigley, CEO and Partner of Narrative Research. “Further, Atlantic Canadians appear generally unified in their support, regardless of party lines, which is rewarding to see at a time of crisis when politics should be secondary.”
School Response: Three in ten survey respondents (n=849) have children in their household who are currently enrolled in school. Those panelists were asked to rate their level of satisfaction with schools in responding to their province’s school shutdown and move towards remote learning. Overall, most Atlantic Canadians report some level of satisfaction with the response, with three-quarters indicating that they are mostly (48%) or completely (27%) satisfied. By contrast, one-quarter express some level of dissatisfaction with their school’s response.
ACTIONS OF RESIDENTS IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19
Nationally, and as part of each province’s state of emergency, residents have been directed to adjust various behaviours to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Narrative Research asked Atlantic Canadians whether or not they have undertaken specific actions within the past week.
Across the Atlantic region findings show a very high level of compliance with directives, across provinces. Indeed, virtually all of panelists indicated that they have practiced social distancing (keeping a safe distance of 2 meters when encountering someone), while almost all have reportedly stayed home and did not go out except for necessities, or washed their hands more frequently than usual. The vast majority also indicated that when coughing, they coughed or sneezed into their elbow. Once again, actions are highly consistent across provinces and demographics.
Aside from those specific actions, three-quarters of panelists have directed others to take appropriate behaviours, asking friends and family to practice social distancing. By contrast, only half of panelists indicated that they wore gloves or a protective mask in public areas, with PE residents being least likely to do so. Across the region, females are more likely than males to do so (56% versus 47%), and those aged 55yrs+ are most likely to wear gloves or a protective mask in public areas (61%).
“There is no question that Atlantic Canadians have taken health authority guidelines very seriously, and have adjusted their behaviours accordingly. It’s rewarding to see such a clear commitment across the population,” said Margaret Brigley. “As case numbers decline and the curve is flattened, it will be important that we continue to heed the guidelines and modify our behaviours as directed.”
Further reflecting the importance some panelists place on slowing the virus’ spread, a small percentage of residents (3%) indicated that they have reported someone for not obeying health authority guidelines.
This is the first of four research summaries that will be provided within the next week. Watch for further details on Atlantic Canadians’ perceptions and behaviours related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Narrative Research, www.narrativeresearch.ca, is one of Canada’s leading public opinion and market research companies. As a non-partisan, 100% Canadian-owned, research company, Narrative Research is dedicated to providing clients with state-of-the-art research and strategic consulting services. Visit EastCoastVoice.ca to join Atlantic Canada’s largest panel, and share your opinions. Follow us on Twitter at @EveryNarrative.
This survey was conducted from April 16 to April 19, 2020, with 3,236 Atlantic Canadians, 18 years of age or older, from Narrative Research’s online panel, East Coast Voice. This sample included responses from each Atlantic province (NB: 975; NS: 1,573; NL: 466; PE: 222). Using data from the 2016 Census, the results were weighted by gender, age, and region to reflect these population characteristics in each province.
As a non-probability sample (i.e. a panel sample where residents have joined a panel to share their opinions), and in accordance with CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards, a margin of error is not applied. However, for comparison, a probability sample of 3,236 respondents would have a margin of error of ±1.7%, 19 times out of 20, while at the provincial levels, probability samples would have margins of error as follows, 19 times out of 20: [NB: ±3.1%,; NS: ±2.5%,; NL: ±4.5%,; PE: ±6.6%]. The research results presented here are in full compliance with the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements.
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