Survey shows polarizing attitudes towards restrictions in Latvia

Cumbersome but necessary. This was the majority's attitude towards government rules regarding COVID-19 in spring. Currently, the survey conducted jointly by Latvian Television and the study center SKDS shows that the public's attitude towards the restrictions imposed by the government has changed significantly, LTV reported November 27.

Statistics compiled a week ago show that an increasing number of people know someone who has become ill with COVID-19. Most have not had direct contact with this disease.

However, everyone has been affected by the security measures imposed by the government to stop the spread of the virus.

According to SKDS study in late April, government's rules were considered adequate by 69% of the respondents, too weak by 15%, too strict by 10% of respondents.

At the beginning of November, 1000 people were asked again to answer a similar question, and the picture is very different. Now, only 43% of respondents deem the restrictions appropriate.

The number of critical opinions has doubled, in both directions: both those who consider the restrictions too weak and those who think they are too strict.

It should be noted that the study was conducted in early November, but since then the government has adopted a series of new restrictions. Therefore, these figures may have changed again at the moment.

The view that the restrictions are too weak and insufficient was more frequently expressed by females, employees in the public sector or those not working at all, mostly from Latvian-speaking families and people living in the countryside.

On the other hand, the view that the limits are too strict was more frequently expressed by males, employees in the private sector, Russian-speaking public and Rīga residents.

According to the authors of the study, it is these profiles of respondents which largely answer the question of why society is so polarized when assessing restrictions.

“Here we see the public sector say more often: no, no, they could be even tougher. In the private sector, there are more who say that the restrictions are too tight. Because for very many of those in the private sector, these restrictions mean they are having trouble getting money to eat and to feed their children.

But in the public sector the government has not said at any point: now we will fire someone, cut wages and so on. (..) you can live quietly in a country home, work remotely, and want even tighter restrictions.

In the private sector, however, those who bake pastries or style hair, need customers, because they won't have anything to eat otherwise. They have a fundamentally different view of the matter. The proportion of these people tends to grow,” explained the head of SKDS, sociologist Arnis Kaktiņš.

The survey also asked people to assess how responsibly they themselves follow the limits and how their fellow people are doing it. More than 80% believe that they observe rules well enough. But for fellow people, the score is way lower: only 42% believe that fellow people are just as conscientious.


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