Newgate Research’s weekly tracking study of more than 1000 Australians, taken between Monday and Wednesday, has found been a significant rebound in the proportion of people who believe Australia is responding appropriately to coronavirus, at 56 per cent compared to 47 per cent last week.
Those who believe there is an overreaction has dwindled from a quarter of Australians two weeks ago to just 6 per cent now.
Newgate Research managing director Sue Vercoe said the survey found growing confidence in the responsibility of the health system and the government more broadly.
Around three quarters of people said the government had acted fairly, communicated clearly and taken appropriate measures to protect business, protect people’s heath and provide financial support.
“In new questions we found that around three quarters believe the government has acted fairly, communicated their expectations of people clearly, and taken appropriate measures to protect businesses, protect people’s health and provide financial support,” Ms Vercoe said.
Eighty per cent of respondents agreed the government-imposed restrictions to halt the spread of the virus were generally reasonable or fair, while 73 per cent either strongly or somewhat agreed the government was taking appropriate measures to support people who lose their job or face financial difficulties.
Nearly two thirds are feeling more socially isolated than usual, more than half are exercising less than usual and around half of all workers now working from home.
“Despite this, there is a widespread perception that people in the community are still not taking social distancing seriously enough, with 77 per cent saying Australians should be doing more to avoid unnecessary contact with others,” Ms Vercoe said.
About 74 per cent of Australians believe the health system is performing “excellent” or “good”, up from 67 per cent last week and 55 per cent a month ago.
There is an increasing proportion of Australians who believe the spread of the virus will moderate and the economy will improve in three months’ time and in one year, 51 per cent up from 38 per cent last week.
As the virus spreads Australians were also increasingly following instructions in relation to social distancing, the survey found.
Nearly nine in 10 Australians say they are now avoiding all non-essential contact, avoiding shaking hands and staying at home, with most also avoiding attending public events or visiting elderly relatives.
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Rob Harris is the National Affairs Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra