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What matters to the English after Covid?

This polling paper reveals how people living in England feel about some of the major issues facing the nation after Covid, including levelling up, Brexit, and the UK’s future constitutional settlement.

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This polling paper from the Bennett Institute for Public Policy and the YouGov-Cambridge Centre for Public Opinion Research, on What Matters to the English after Covid?  reveals how people living in England feel about some of the major issues facing the nation after Covid, including levelling up, Brexit and the UK’s future constitutional settlement. It also explores whether those who see themselves as primarily English adopt a different political outlook to those who identify as British.

Key findings
  • Levelling up is a popular idea in the abstract, with two-thirds of English people saying it should be a high or medium priority for government. But there is a widespread sense of scepticism about what it will achieve in practice. There is also clear regional variation in attitudes towards levelling up, with those living in the North and Midlands noticeably more likely to feel enthusiastic about this programme than those living in London and the South East.
  • At the time the fieldwork was undertaken (May 2021) a plurality (46%) of English people thought leaving the EU was the right decision in hindsight, compared to 39% who felt it was a mistake.
  • The abiding attitude towards the future of the UK union among people in England appears to be indifference: Only 4% of respondents listed Scottish independence as one of the four main issues facing the country at present and a large minority (26%) are yet to decide whether or not they support independence for Scotland. 27% of people said they do support Scottish independence as opposed to 48% who oppose it.

Read blog: What matters to the English after Covid?

Read media release: ‘Levelling up’ met with widespread scepticism across England, survey study suggests

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  • About the author

    Professor Michael Kenny, Co-Director, Bennett Institute for Public Policy

    Professor Kenny directs the Institute’s place and public policy programme.   Learn more

    Mike Kenny
  • About the author

    Dr Joel Rogers de Waal, Affiliated Researcher

    Pollster at YouGov and Cambridge. Main hats are the academic director at YouGov and co-director of the YouGov-Cambridge Centre, within the Cambridge POLIS Department. Main subjects are populism, globalisation and political psychology. Previous roles include army captain and political ghostwriter. Education includes Cambridge and Sandhurst, ...   Learn more

    J Rogers de Waal
  • About the author

    Tom Kelsey

    Tom is a Senior Research Officer at the Electoral Commission. From October 2020 to September 2021, he was a Research Assistant at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, having previously worked as a Policy Adviser at the think tank Green Alliance and as a researcher for a Member of Parliament. Tom holds a BSc in Government from the London School of Economics and an MSc in Democracy and Comparative Politics from UCL.

    Tom Kelsey