A narrow majority of people say the reopening of social and economic life should proceed quickly, while a significant minority are much more cautious, the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll finds.
A large majority also want some precautions – such as the wearing of masks in shops – to remain even after most people are vaccinated against Covid-19.
As restrictions continue to be eased, with further reopening of social and economic life reopening scheduled next month, 50 per cent of respondents say they want the Government to proceed with the full reopening “as quickly as possible”. But 46 per cent say they want the reopening to take place “at a much slower pace”, with 4 per cent not giving a view.
While a majority of those expressing an opinion favour a faster reopening, it is narrow and shows a high degree of caution remains after months of lockdown.
On the question of the pace of reopening, the poll shows a stark divide on age grounds. Those under 35 are much more strongly in favour of a quick reopening than older voters, with 61 per cent agreeing that the “full reopening” should take place “as quickly as possible”. Just 34 per cent of that cohort say they would prefer “a much slower pace”.
The situation is almost reversed for those aged over 65. Just 35 per cent of this group favour the “as quickly as possible” option, while 62 per cent favour the “much slower pace option”. Wealthier voters are more likely to favour a quick reopening, as are voters in urban areas.
The poll was conducted among 1,200 adults at 120 sampling points across all constituencies on Monday and Tuesday.
Respondents were interviewed at their own homes, a change from February’s poll which was conducted via telephone because of Covid-19 restrictions. The accuracy is estimated at plus or minus 2.8 per cent.