Coronavirus crisis rebuilds Britain’s trust in expert opinion: Study shows 70 per cent of people are more likely to listen to specialist advice now than before the pandemic
- Michael Gove notably claimed that Britain had ‘had enough of experts’ in 2016
- A survey last year also found that only 40 per cent trust expert advice the most
- In May, researchers polled how 1,178 British adults feel about specialist opinion
- A need for ‘clear, academic advice’ on COVID-19 seems to have turned the tide
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
The coronavirus crisis has rebuilt Britain’s trust in experts, with 70 per cent of people being more likely to listen to specialist advice now than before, a study has found.
The finding would suggest the tide of trust has turned since 2016, when then-justice secretary Michael Gove notably declared the public to have ‘had enough of experts.’
The survey — commissioned by UK-based communications agency Higginson Strategy — also found that women are more likely to heed expert guidance.
Polling suggested that 74 per cent of women would follow the advice of people with specialist experience in their field, as opposed to only 68 per cent of men.
The coronavirus crisis has rebuilt Britain’s trust in experts, with 70 per cent of people being more likely to listen to specialist advice now than before, a study has found. Pictured, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty providing expert advice during a COVID-19 press conference
‘Four years ago Michael Gove said Britain had ‘had enough of experts’. Today it seems we can’t get enough of them,’ said Higginson Strategy’s John Higginson.
‘While today we are all looking to health experts to provide us with the solutions to the COVID-19 crisis what is interesting is that our interest in what experts are saying is increasing in other areas to including the economy and the environment.’
‘This can only be a good thing as we look to navigate our way through the huge global challenges we face. Now more than ever expert opinion matters.’
The survey of 1,178 British adults was conducted in late May by polling firm Populus.
Alongside revealing that women are more likely to trust expert advice, the survey also found a slight increase of trust among younger adults.
In fact, 72 per cent of under-35-year-olds said that they would place trust in specialist guidance, as opposed to only 69 per cent of those aged between 35–65.
Overall, the results suggest an increase in faith in experts over that of just last year — with a July 2019 poll having indicated that even Facebook was seen as being more reliable that expert opinion.
That study had concluded that only 40 per cent of the public held experts in mind as the the most trustworthy authority for information.
According to the researchers, it is likely the need for ‘clear, academic advice’ during the current public health crisis that has restored the British public’s opinion of people with experience and specialist knowledge.
The finding suggests the tide of trust has turned since 2016, when then-justice secretary Michael Gove declared the public to have ‘had enough of experts’ during a Sky News Q&A
The poll has been released this week to coincide with the launch on June 11 of Higginson Strategy’s new Expert Bureau.
This service will bring together specialists from the fields of business, education, environment, finance and health.
Members of the bureau — who are available to provide insights to the media on their areas of expertise — include World Health Organisation air pollution advocate Rosamund Kissi-Debrah and former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable.