A new poll from think tank Demos finds that Covid-19 is causing deeper social divides than Brexit, with more than half of mask wearers in Britain (58%) having severely negative attitudes about people not wearing masks.

The nationally representative poll of 10,000 Britons also finds that the vast majority of people who did not break lockdown rules say they hate, resent or think lockdown rule breakers are bad people.

New research from the cross-party think tank Demos has found that Covid-19 has now caused deeper social fractures than Brexit. The poll finds that over half of mask wearers in Britain  have severely negative attitudes towards non-mask wearers, and the vast majority  of people who did not break lockdown rules have strong negative views about lockdown rule breakers.

In comparison, only a third of people who did not vote ‘Leave’ in the 2016 EU Referendum resent, hate, or think people who voted for Brexit are bad people, and 26% either admire, respect or think they are good people. Leavers are even less resentful of Remainers, with a third of people who didn’t vote ‘Remain’ saying they feel positively about Remain voters, and only a fifth saying that they feel animosity towards them.

Demos has also found that Covid-19 has had a net negative impact on a range of factors in people’s lives, including job security and mental health. Demos’ work shows that alongside people’s anxiety about the future, there is ambition among the British people for the UK and how we live, how we work, and how we support each other.

Commenting on the findings, Polly Mackenzie, Chief Executive of Demos, said:

“In many ways, the Covid-19 pandemic has helped communities, neighbours and wider society come together. But our new research has found that there is also a more concerning picture that has arisen. The social divisions caused by the pandemic are stark, but we must work to ensure that these divisions don’t fracture society in the long-term.

“Our project, Renew Normal, wants to hear from people up and down the country about their views on how Britain should build back from Covid-19. We hope that bringing people together for a national conversation to shape Britain’s future will help heal the divides, find common ground and take forward the best of the community spirit gained through the health crisis.”


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