COMRES/ ITV NEWS POLL: MAJORITY OPPOSE DOCTORS' STRIKE
As NHS doctors around the country prepare to strike tomorrow over pension contribution changes, the latest Index poll results conducted by ComRes and to be broadcast on ITV News, reveal that more than half of the population (51%) oppose the industrial action. Just a third (32%) supports it and 17% are not sure.
A majority of those who work in the public sector (52%) say they support the strike, while 33% oppose the strike. This compares with just 29% of private sector workers who support the strike, while 52% oppose it.
Asked if, in principle, NHS doctors should or should not have the legal right to strike, half (50%) believe that they should, 39% believe they should not have the legal right to strike and 11% don’t know. Among public sector workers, seven in ten (70%) say that they should have the legal right, while 21% say they should not while among private sector workers, 48% say they should have the right, while 41% say they should not.
More than half (53%) think the government has mishandled the situation with the doctors’ union with 18% who disagree and 65% of public sector workers think the Government has mishandled the situation compared with 49% of those who work in the private sector.
50% agree that the doctors’ union is being unreasonable threatening a strike on the issue of pensions changes, while a third (33%) disagree. Just 35% of public sector workers believe the doctors’ union is being unreasonable to threaten a strike on this issue compared with 52% of those in the private sector.
Just 38% think that doctors are right to strike over changes to their pension contributions and retirement age. 56% of public sector workers agree, compared with 36% of private sector workers.
Nearly half of the population (47%) disagree that a strike, or threat of strike, by NHS doctors is likely to be effective in getting the Government to rethink their planned changes to doctors’ pensions. Just 27% agree and one in four (25%) don’t know.
58% believe that this strike will cause genuine distress and hardship to patients throughout the country. One in four (25%) disagree and 17% are not sure. Just 45% of workers in the public sector agree compared with 61% of private sector workers.
More than half (54%) agree that generally speaking, they are in favour of the right of public sector workers to strike, while one third (32%) disagree. Three quarters (74%) of public sector workers agree compared with 48% of private sector workers.
Worryingly, 57% think that this strike action will risk the health of patients, 29% disagree. Just 44% of public sector workers think the strike action will risk the health of patients, compared with 59% of private sector workers.
A majority of people (68%) think that NHS doctors have pensions that are high compared to other workers. Just 7% of people disagree. And one in four (24%) don’t know. This belief is shared among those in both the public and private sectors – 64% of those in the public sector agree, as do 67% of those in the private sector.
Finally, more than half of people (54%) say they don’t mind if their NHS doctor receives a generous pension as they deserve it for the work that they do. A quarter of the population (26%) disagree. 62% of public sector workers agree compared with 49% of private sector workers.
Methodology: Comres interviewed 2,059 GB adults online from 15th to 17th June 2012. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.