IRSOP survey: What do Romanians think about the COVID-19 pandemic crisis?

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Fear is felt by 54% of the respondents of an IRSOP opinion poll conducted during April 6-11. The authors of the survey explain the high percentage of those feeling fear of the current coronavirus crisis means the perception will linger until the medical cure is found and that people will be more sensitive particularly to compassion messages.

34% of the Romanians said they are confident about the crisis, 6% are indifferent and another 6% are depressed.

The overwhelming majority of the respondents (84%) think the crisis will be a long and tough one. The gloom and doom is amplifying the concern and may paralyse the individual actions and initiatives on short and medium term. 17% think the crisis will go over easily.

Half of respondents (50%) appreciate the current performance of the Government. However, the avalanche of negative news and the permanent conjuring the big threats that lie ahead of us in the upcoming period are causing distress, and authorities are blamed for what they are doing wrong and for what they cannot do well. 6 pc think the activity of the Executive is very good, while 44 pc consider it good. 26pc think the gov’t performance is weak, and 23pc think it is very weak.

Despite its late response in helping the countries badly by the COVID-19 crisis (Italy, Spain), Romanians perceive the European Union as a source of safety. More than a half  of them (52%) want Romania to strengthen relations with EU, 14% prefer Russia, 13% – USA and 7% – China. The high pro-European percentage reveals that EU is not rivaling with any other global powers and that people are keener to accept not only the EU disadvantages, but also its rules.

The survey also notes that the current shock is also undermining the confidence in the future. Most of the respondents (86%) think that life will be difficult long after the pandemic. The sentiment suggests that people will have more expectations from the state than from their own forces.

In terms of economy and finances, more than a half think the number of bankruptcies will be on the rise (55%) and there will be consistent job cuts (52%). The recession will thus increase the subsistence-related fears and probably a new wave of populism.

People consider the country’s finances more than fragile, with most respondents being sure the inflation will be up (67%) as well as the Euro (61%).

Overall, 54% think the standard of living will be declining, 31% think it will remain the same and 14% hope it will be on the rise. This feeling that life is deteriorating is usually prompting political and electoral consequences, the authors of the survey note.

On the other hand, more than a third (36%) consider the chaos on the domestic healthcare system will be decreasing, with people starting to hope that ordeals the system is currently facing and the recent measures will have systemic positive effects on long term.

As for justice, almost two thirds (59%) think the criminality will be on the rise, while only 8% believe it will decrease, which suggests that most of the people have this feeling that they will not be safe.

On corruption, 90% think that it will remain at the current level, meaning high, or than it will increase even more.

As a post-crisis strategy, Romanians believe that after the epidemic, the Government should prioritise creation of more jobs (42%) and should endorse Romanian companies (35%). There are few supporters of the idea that rulers should encourage the consumption through potential financial incentives. However, stimulating consumption will be the more difficult as the collective anxiety is persisting, the survey concludes.

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