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10/04/2020
Society, Singapore

Singaporeans satisfied with Solidarity Budget support and are “extraordinarily confident” that Circuit Breaker measures will halt the spread of COVID-19

Social research agency Blackbox Research today revealed that, according to its most recent survey conducted post-announcement of the Solidarity Budget, sentiment towards the Budget support was positive and Singaporeans are confident that the “Circuit Breaker” measures will be sufficient to slow the spread of the virus.

The survey is the third in a series of post-Budget studies conducted by Blackbox Research, where the first two studies surveyed the sentiment of Singaporeans following the earlier announcements of the “Unity Budget” and the “Resilience Budget”.

Solidarity Budget measures welcomed

Over half (55 per cent) of Singaporeans surveyed rated the latest Solidarity Budget strongly – on par with the findings of the previous post-Resilience Budget survey. This indicates that Singaporeans, across all income groups, have remained satisfied with the unprecedented support being offered by the government at this time.

An overwhelming 80 per cent consider the S$300 cash pay-out as the top initiative that will help themselves and their families. The other initiatives that respondents felt were useful were the Enhanced Job Support Scheme (35 per cent) and the bringing forward of the first Job Support Scheme pay-out to April from May (23 per cent).

When it comes to Singaporeans’ views on the government’s efforts to stabilise the economy and to protect jobs, 65 per cent of respondents believed the Enhanced Job Support Scheme would be the most effective, followed by enhanced loan support for businesses (55 per cent) and rental waiver for business tenants in government-owned buildings (54 per cent).

Commenting on these findings, David Black, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Blackbox Research, said, “Amid the rising uncertainty regarding job stability, it is clear that the enhancement to the Job Support Scheme announced in earlier Budgets is a welcome relief to both employers and employees. The public is hopeful that these measures will help to secure jobs and mitigate the fallout from the business closures and disruptions now being widely flagged.”

Extraordinary confidence in Circuit Breaker measures

While the number of new COVID-19 cases in Singapore has been on the rise, with new record highs reported throughout the last week, Singaporeans are confident that the month long enhanced safe distancing measures that kicked in on 7 April (also known as the Circuit Breaker) will be able to control the spread of the virus.

An overwhelming 90 per cent of respondents believed that the Circuit Breaker will work and stop the virus from spreading. This is despite half of Singaporeans feeling that the Circuit Breaker measures should have been implemented earlier by the government.

The government’s delay in implementing the circuit breaker is also reflected in the latest crisis performance measures. Compared to late March, the number of respondents who have rated the Government highly for keeping the public informed, and putting in place action plans and efforts to reduce public panic, have dropped.

How do Singaporeans think they will cope with the Circuit Breaker measures?

Despite increasingly stringent measures introduced by the government, Singaporeans are keeping positive and said they will follow the strict measures closely. While more than 7,000 written notices were issued on the first day of the month-long circuit breaker period, 82 per cent of Singaporeans still believed they will cope well with staying at home while 73 per cent said they will cope well without dining out.

There are, however, some variations across different age groups in terms of people’s preparedness and current feelings amid the current situation. Singaporeans between the age of 50 and 59 (41 per cent) are more likely to be experiencing higher levels of anxiety than usual, compared to only 27 per cent among those below 30 years old.

This is in line with other data in the latest survey that suggests that the younger generation of Singaporeans may be more vulnerable during the Circuit Breaker – 37 per cent indicated a higher level of boredom than usual and only 36 per cent claim to be practicing safe distancing at all times – the worst across all age groups.

Commenting on the significance of the latest survey results, Mr Black said, “If anything, the last week has shown, even the best laid plans can fall victim to COVID-19, as we have seen over again across the world. Crucially, the government has responded swiftly to this new reality and appears ready to tackle both rising infection levels as well as the economic impacts we are starting to see. Singaporeans also said they are ready to bunker down at home and we will continue to measure sentiment and see if their confidence and willpower hold up in the next couple of weeks.”

Mr Black added, “I hope that our survey findings help to show an honest view of the realities and perceptions on the ground, so that we can all continue to come up with effective and efficient strategies to tackle the pandemic. The situation is changing day by day and so are public opinions.”

Other key findings include:

Reaction to stimulus package

  • 49 per cent said they paid close attention to announcement (up 4 per cent from Resilience Budget in March)
  • On a scale of 0 to 10, 55 per cent rated the Budget measures 8 and above
  • The top two announcements Singaporeans are most aware of are the S$300 cash pay-out (81 per cent), followed by the Enhanced Job Support Scheme (61 per cent)
  • While the Resilience Budget was seen more to benefit families (23 per cent), the Solidarity Budget seen more firmly targeted at workers (26 per cent, up from 19 per cent)

Attitude and behaviours of Singaporeans

  • The number of people working at home every weekday has nearly doubled since end of March
  • Percentage of respondents saying family relations have strengthened rose from 18 per cent in earlier survey to 21 per cent
  • Percentage of people saying family relations have frayed rose from 9 per cent in earlier survey to 12 per cent
  • 50 per cent of respondents think circuit breaker decision was implemented too late
  • 68 per cent of respondents said they wear a mask all or most of the time when they step out of their houses
  • Singaporeans are confident they can cope well throughout Circuit Breaker
    • 82 per cent said they will cope well with staying at home
    • 81 per cent said they will cope with closure of bank branches
    • 77 per cent said they will cope well with outdoor exercise at safe distance
    • 73 per cent said they will cope well with no dining out
    • 73 per cent said they will cope with new restrictions on social gatherings
    • 80 per cent of Singaporeans with school-going children said they will cope well with the shutting down of schools and home-based learning

About the Survey 

Blackbox Research carried out an online nationally representative survey of n=775 Singaporean citizens and Permanent Resident adults aged 20 and above. Quotas were applied for gender, age and socio-economic criteria, including education and household type, to ensure representative coverage. The statistical margin of error for the study is 3.5 per cent. The survey was conducted on the dates 7-8 April, with fieldwork commencing a day after the Solidarity Budget announcement.